The Art of Monetary Policy

By David C. Colander; Dewey Daane | Go to book overview

14
MARGARET GREENE
Monetary and Exchange Rate Policy Implementation
In June 1975, Alan Holmes was asked to take on, in addition to his domestic responsibilities, senior responsibility for the Foreign Function. This is the part of the Bank that conducts operations in foreign currencies for the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve and also provides correspondent banking services in the United States for other central banks and international monetary institutions.At the time that Alan Holmes was given the dual assignment for the domestic and foreign "desks" at the Federal Reserve, many wondered whether the creation of the dual assignment had policy significance. In the United States, monetary policy and exchange rate policy were traditionally believed to have different goals and rely on different tools. But already in 1975 there was an acute sense that the world was changing and policy administration might have to adjust in response. The United States was just emerging from two episodes that drew particular attention to the growing exposure of our domestic economy and banking system to developments abroad:
1. The first oil crisis of the early 1970s, in which oil prices rose fourfold, patterns of international trade and capital flows were changed abruptly, and oil exporting countries amassed what then seemed to be huge amounts of funds to be recycled in the world's money and capital markets.

There had hardly been a time in the postwar period when the United States appeared to be so much at the mercy of forces beyond its control. And never before had markets had to absorb such large amounts of funds, held and controlled by so few,

-171-

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