Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is a component of the Federal Reserve, and is charged under United States law with overseeing the nation's open market operations. It is the Federal Reserve committee that makes key decisions about interest rates and the growth of the United States money supply.

The Committee sets monetary policy by specifying the short-term objective for those operations, which is currently a target level for the federal funds rate (the rate that commercial banks charge between themselves for overnight loans). The FOMC also directs operations undertaken by the Federal Reserve System in foreign exchange markets, although any intervention in foreign exchange markets is coordinated with the U.S. Treasury, which has responsibility for formulating U.S. policies regarding the exchange value of the dollar.

The FOMC consists of twelve members; the seven members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and four of the remaining eleven Reserve Bank presidents, who serve one-year terms on a rotating basis. The rotating seats are filled from the following four groups of Banks, one Bank president from each group: Boston, Philadelphia, and Richmond; Cleveland and Chicago; Atlanta, St. Louis, and Dallas; and Minneapolis, Kansas City, and San Francisco.

The FOMC holds eight regularly scheduled meetings per year. At these meetings, the Committee reviews economic and financial conditions, determines the appropriate stance of monetary policy, and assesses the risks to its long-run goals of price stability and sustainable economic growth.


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