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NY Fed's Logan: Fed moved quickly to address market dislocations in spring

(Reuters) - The Federal Reserve moved quickly last March to address broad-based selling of Treasury securities and other assets that caused notable dislocations in markets, and it stands ready to respond to other issues that may arise, a senior New York Fed official said on Wednesday.

When the coronavirus pandemic led to shutdowns and thrust the U.S. economy into a recession, a wide range of investors seeking cash began to sell safe assets such as Treasury securities, said Lorie Logan, an executive vice president at the New York Fed and the manager of the System Open Market Account (SOMA).

“From the experience we had at the time and the data we’ve been able to assess, it’s clear that a wide range of investor types were really selling,” Logan said during a panel organized by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Fed’s purchases of Treasury securities and its commitment to do more if necessary, helped to keep money flowing through key markets, Logan said.

The U.S. central bank in March slashed interest rates to zero, launched open-ended purchases of Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities and established a slate of emergency lending facilities. It also created programs to help foreign central banks access U.S. dollars.

While some of the programs set up by the Fed were revived from the 2008 financial crisis, the central bank also established new facilities. This year’s crisis differed from the last downturn in that it was “more of a systemic liquidity event,” and the events are still being studied, Logan said.

“It’s going to require careful and new analysis of what changes will help fortify the financial system,” she said.

The Fed will also continue to monitor markets for any further risks, Logan said. “We’re going to continue to remain ready to respond,” she said.

Reporting by Jonnelle Marte; Editing by Chris Reese and Cynthia Osterman

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