Thursday, May 14, 2015

The "Discount Rate" Is a Technical Term

Below is the technical definition of the term "discount rate". It is not used in the manner you are familiar with, as in, "I went to the store and got a discount." Instead it is the interest rate set by the Federal Reserve or central bank of a country.

DEFINITION of 'Discount Rate'
"The interest rate charged to commercial banks and other depository institutions for loans received from the Federal Reserve Bank’s discount window. 
The Fed’s Discount Rate is an administered rate set by the Federal Reserve Banks, rather than a market rate of interest. Use of the Fed’s discount window soared in late 2007 and 2008, as financial conditions deteriorated sharply and the Federal Reserve took steps to provide liquidity to the financial system. Discount window borrowing soared to a record $111 billion at the height of the global financial crisis in October 2008, while the Federal Reserve’s board of governors set the discount rate at a post-WW II low of 0.5% on Dec. 16, 2008."
EXPLANATION of 'Discount Window' 
"The discount window is an instrument of monetary policy (usually controlled by central banks) that allows eligible institutions to borrow money from the central bank, usually on a short-term basis, to meet temporary shortages of liquidity caused by internal or external disruptions. The term originated with the practice of sending a bank representative to a reserve bank teller window when a bank needed to borrow money.[1] 
The interest rate charged on such loans by a central bank is called the discount rate, base rate, or repo rate, and is separate and distinct from the prime rate. It is also not the same thing as the federal funds rate and its equivalents in other currencies, which determine the rate at which banks lend money to each other. In recent years, the discount rate has been approximately a percentage point above the federal funds rate (see Lombard credit). Because of this, it is a relatively unimportant factor in the control of the money supply and is only taken advantage of at large volume during emergencies."

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