An Overnight Repurchase Agreement (RP) Executed by the Open Market Desk: What You Need to Know

The world of finance can be complex and confusing, especially when it comes to the intricacies of short-term borrowing and lending. One type of transaction that has been making headlines in recent years is the overnight repurchase agreement (RP) executed by the open market desk. In this article, we’ll break down what an overnight RP is, how it works, and why it matters.

What is an Overnight Repurchase Agreement?

An overnight repurchase agreement, or overnight RP, is a short-term lending or borrowing transaction between two parties, usually a bank and the Federal Reserve. In an overnight RP, the bank sells securities to the Federal Reserve with the agreement to buy them back the next day at a slightly higher price, effectively borrowing money overnight. The Federal Reserve uses these overnight RP transactions as a tool to regulate the money supply in the economy.

How Does an Overnight RP Work?

Let’s take a closer look at how an overnight RP works. Imagine a bank needs to borrow $10 million to make a loan to one of its customers. Instead of borrowing the money from another bank or financial institution, the bank can enter into an overnight RP with the open market desk of the Federal Reserve.

The bank first sells $10 million worth of securities to the Federal Reserve, agreeing to buy them back the next day at a slightly higher price, say $10.1 million. The Federal Reserve debits the bank’s account and the bank receives the $10 million in cash. The next day, the bank buys back the securities from the Federal Reserve for $10.1 million, effectively repaying the loan with interest.

Why Does an Overnight RP Matter?

Overnight RPs are an important tool for the Federal Reserve to manage the money supply and interest rates in the economy. By increasing or decreasing the amount of money in circulation through these overnight transactions, the Federal Reserve can control short-term interest rates and stabilize financial markets.

In times of economic uncertainty or market stress, the Federal Reserve may increase the use of overnight RPs to provide liquidity to banks and keep the financial system functioning smoothly. These transactions can also have an impact on other financial markets, such as the bond market, as they affect the yields on securities and can influence investor behavior.


An overnight repurchase agreement executed by the open market desk may sound like a complex financial transaction, but it is an important tool for the Federal Reserve in managing the economy. By buying and selling securities with banks overnight, the Federal Reserve can regulate the money supply and short-term interest rates, helping to stabilize financial markets. Understanding the role of overnight RPs can help investors and financial professionals make informed decisions in a rapidly changing economic landscape.