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Powell Stays Silent on Extending Fed’s Bank Capital Relief

  • Treasury market, Wall Street anxiously await decision on SLR
  • Leverage limit was eased during pandemic but expires March 31
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WATCH: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks at a news conference about the decision to keep near-zero interest rates at least through 2023. (Source: Bloomberg)
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Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell maintained his silence at a press briefing Wednesday over whether the regulator will agree to Wall Street banks’ request to extend a capital break that helped calm the Treasury market a year ago but is set to expire this month.

Powell declined to answer a reporter’s questions about moving the March 31 end date for the relaxed leverage limits -- a situation that’s added to anxiety among Treasury market participants hoping big banks won’t have to adjust their holdings. Since the start of Covid-19’s economic turmoil, lenders have been allowed to beef up their portfolios of Treasuries and reserves without having to maintain additional capital for the holdings.