(ECONOMICS) a financial institution that issues the national currency and administers monetary policy.
For the USA, the central bank is the Federal Reserve System.
In a few cases, the central bank is private, and otherwise similar to a regular commercial bank. In other cases, it is directly controlled by the head of government. In most cases, however, it is a government agency that is shielded from direct control.
OTHER IMPORTANT CENTRAL BANKS
European Union--European Central Bank (ECB).
Japan--Bank of Japan
China--People's Bank of China
United Kingdom--Bank of England
See also the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements.
In the USA, as well as many other countries, the Treasury acts as the government's underwriter but the central bank controls the money supply using treasury securities and other forms of hot money. The central bank is usually responsible for managing the currency reserves, including foreign currency reserves, of its government. It also enforces banking laws and operates check clearing.
The BIS acts as a bank to most of the world's central banks.
Prices shown in USD.
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