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By unanimous vote, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was selected to execute transactions for the System Open Market Account (SOMA).

By unanimous vote, the Committee selected Simon Potter and Lorie K. Logan to serve at the pleasure of the Committee as manager and deputy manager of the SOMA, respectively, on the understanding that these selections were subject to their being satisfactory to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Secretary's note: Advice subsequently was received that the manager and deputy manager selections indicated above were satisfactory to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
By unanimous vote, the Authorization for Domestic Open Market Operations was approved with a nonsubstantive amendment that changed terminology used in paragraph 4.B.ii, related to the provision of intraday credit to Foreign Accounts in exchange for securities. The Guidelines for the Conduct of System Open Market Operations in Federal-Agency Issues remained suspended.

AUTHORIZATION FOR DOMESTIC OPEN MARKET OPERATIONS
(As amended effective January 26, 2016)

1. The Federal Open Market Committee (the "Committee") authorizes and directs the Federal Reserve Bank selected by the Committee to execute open market transactions (the "Selected Bank"), to the extent necessary to carry out the most recent domestic policy directive adopted by the Committee:

A. To buy or sell in the open market securities that are direct obligations of, or fully guaranteed as to principal and interest by, the United States, and securities that are direct obligations of, or fully guaranteed as to principal and interest by, any agency of the United States, that are eligible for purchase or sale under Section 14(b) of the Federal Reserve Act ("Eligible Securities") for the System Open Market Account ("SOMA"):

i. As an outright operation with securities dealers and foreign and international accounts maintained at the Selected Bank: on a same-day or deferred delivery basis (including such transactions as are commonly referred to as dollar rolls and coupon swaps) at market prices; or

ii. As a temporary operation: on a same-day or deferred delivery basis, to purchase such Eligible Securities subject to an agreement to resell ("repo transactions") or to sell such Eligible Securities subject to an agreement to repurchase ("reverse repo transactions") for a term of 65 business days or less, at rates that, unless otherwise authorized by the Committee, are determined by competitive bidding, after applying reasonable limitations on the volume of agreements with individual counterparties;

B. To allow Eligible Securities in the SOMA to mature without replacement;

C. To exchange, at market prices, in connection with a Treasury auction, maturing Eligible Securities in the SOMA with the Treasury, in the case of Eligible Securities that are direct obligations of the United States or that are fully guaranteed as to principal and interest by the United States; and

D. To exchange, at market prices, maturing Eligible Securities in the SOMA with an agency of the United States, in the case of Eligible Securities that are direct obligations of that agency or that are fully guaranteed as to principal and interest by that agency.

2. The Committee authorizes the Selected Bank to undertake transactions of the type described in paragraph 1 from time to time for the purpose of testing operational readiness, subject to the following limitations:

A. All transactions authorized in this paragraph 2 shall be conducted with prior notice to the Committee;

B. The aggregate par value of the transactions authorized in this paragraph 2 that are of the type described in paragraph 1.A.i shall not exceed $5 billion per calendar year; and

C. The outstanding amount of the transactions described in paragraph 1.A.ii shall not exceed $5 billion at any given time.

3. In order to ensure the effective conduct of open market operations, the Committee authorizes the Selected Bank to operate a program to lend Eligible Securities held in the SOMA to dealers on an overnight basis (except that the Selected Bank may lend Eligible Securities for longer than an overnight term to accommodate weekend, holiday, and similar trading conventions).

A. Such securities lending must be:

i. At rates determined by competitive bidding;

ii. At a minimum lending fee consistent with the objectives of the program;

iii. Subject to reasonable limitations on the total amount of a specific issue of Eligible Securities that may be auctioned; and

iv. Subject to reasonable limitations on the amount of Eligible Securities that each borrower may borrow.

B. The Selected Bank may:

i. Reject bids that, as determined in its sole discretion, could facilitate a bidder's ability to control a single issue;

ii. Accept Treasury securities or cash as collateral for any loan of securities authorized in this paragraph 3; and

iii. Accept agency securities as collateral only for a loan of agency securities authorized in this paragraph 3.

4. In order to ensure the effective conduct of open market operations, while assisting in the provision of short-term investments or other authorized services for foreign central bank and international accounts maintained at a Federal Reserve Bank (the "Foreign Accounts") and accounts maintained at a Federal Reserve Bank as fiscal agent of the United States pursuant to section 15 of the Federal Reserve Act (together with the Foreign Accounts, the "Customer Accounts"), the Committee authorizes the following when undertaken on terms comparable to those available in the open market:

A. The Selected Bank, for the SOMA, to undertake reverse repo transactions in Eligible Securities held in the SOMA with the Customer Accounts for a term of 65 business days or less; and

B. Any Federal Reserve Bank that maintains Customer Accounts, for any such Customer Account, when appropriate and subject to all other necessary authorization and approvals, to:

i. Undertake repo transactions in Eligible Securities with dealers with a corresponding reverse repo transaction in such Eligible Securities with the Customer Accounts; and

ii. Undertake intra-day repo transactions in Eligible Securities with Foreign Accounts.

Transactions undertaken with Customer Accounts under the provisions of this paragraph 4 may provide for a service fee when appropriate. Transactions undertaken with Customer Accounts are also subject to the authorization or approval of other entities, including the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and, when involving accounts maintained at a Federal Reserve Bank as fiscal agent of the United States, the United States Department of the Treasury.

5. The Committee authorizes the Chairman of the Committee, in fostering the Committee's objectives during any period between meetings of the Committee, to instruct the Selected Bank to act on behalf of the Committee to:

A. Adjust somewhat in exceptional circumstances the stance of monetary policy and to take actions that may result in material changes in the composition and size of the assets in the SOMA; or

B. Undertake transactions with respect to Eligible Securities in order to appropriately address temporary disruptions of an operational or highly unusual nature in U.S. dollar funding markets.

Any such adjustment described in subparagraph A of this paragraph 5 shall be made in the context of the Committee's discussion and decision about the stance of policy at its most recent meeting and the Committee's long-run objectives to foster maximum employment and price stability, and shall be based on economic, financial, and monetary developments since the most recent meeting of the Committee. The Chairman, whenever feasible, will consult with the Committee before making any instruction under this paragraph 5.

The manager noted that the staff was in the process of evaluating the current framework for foreign reserves management and considering a possible restructuring of the documents governing the framework for foreign operations. He recommended that any changes to these documents be postponed until that process was complete. The Committee voted unanimously to reaffirm without change the Authorization for Foreign Currency Operations, the Foreign Currency Directive, and the Procedural Instructions with Respect to Foreign Currency Operations as shown below. The votes to reaffirm these documents included approval of the System's warehousing agreement with the U.S. Treasury.

AUTHORIZATION FOR FOREIGN CURRENCY OPERATIONS
(As reaffirmed effective January 26, 2016)

1. The Federal Open Market Committee (the "Committee") authorizes and directs the Federal Reserve Bank selected by the Committee to execute open market transactions (the "Selected Bank"), for the System Open Market Account, to the extent necessary to carry out the Committee's foreign currency directive and express authorizations by the Committee pursuant thereto, and in conformity with such procedural instructions as the Committee may issue from time to time:

A. To purchase and sell the following foreign currencies in the form of cable transfers through spot or forward transactions on the open market at home and abroad, including transactions with the U.S. Treasury, with the U.S. Exchange Stabilization Fund established by section 10 of the Gold Reserve Act of 1934, with foreign monetary authorities, with the Bank for International Settlements, and with other international financial institutions:

Australian dollars
Brazilian reais
Canadian dollars
Danish kroner
euro
Japanese yen
Korean won
Mexican pesos
New Zealand dollars
Norwegian kroner
Pounds sterling
Singapore dollars
Swedish kronor
Swiss francs

B. To hold balances of, and to have outstanding forward contracts to receive or to deliver, the foreign currencies listed in paragraph A above.

C. To draw foreign currencies and to permit foreign banks to draw dollars under the arrangements listed in paragraph 2 below, in accordance with the Procedural Instructions with Respect to Foreign Currency Operations.

D. To maintain an overall open position in all foreign currencies not exceeding $25.0 billion. For this purpose, the overall open position in all foreign currencies is defined as the sum (disregarding signs) of net positions in individual currencies, excluding changes in dollar value due to foreign exchange rate movements and interest accruals. The net position in a single foreign currency is defined as holdings of balances in that currency, plus outstanding contracts for future receipt, minus outstanding contracts for future delivery of that currency, i.e., as the sum of these elements with due regard to sign.

2. The Committee directs the Selected Bank to maintain for the System Open Market Account (subject to the requirements of section 214.5 of Regulation N, Relations with Foreign Banks and Bankers):

A. Reciprocal currency arrangements with the following foreign banks:

Foreign bank Amount of arrangement
(millions of dollars equivalent)
Bank of Canada 2,000
Bank of Mexico 3,000
B. Standing dollar liquidity swap arrangements with the following foreign banks:

Bank of Canada
Bank of England
Bank of Japan
European Central Bank
Swiss National Bank

C. Standing foreign currency liquidity swap arrangements with the following foreign banks:

Bank of Canada
Bank of England
Bank of Japan
European Central Bank
Swiss National Bank

Dollar and foreign currency liquidity swap arrangements have no pre-set size limits. Any new swap arrangements shall be referred for review and approval to the Committee. All swap arrangements are subject to annual review and approval by the Committee.

3. All transactions in foreign currencies undertaken under paragraph 1.A above shall, unless otherwise expressly authorized by the Committee, be at prevailing market rates. For the purpose of providing an investment return on System holdings of foreign currencies or for the purpose of adjusting interest rates paid or received in connection with swap drawings, transactions with foreign central banks may be undertaken at non-market exchange rates.

4. It shall be the normal practice to arrange with foreign central banks for the coordination of foreign currency transactions. In making operating arrangements with foreign central banks on System holdings of foreign currencies, the Selected Bank shall not commit itself to maintain any specific balance, unless authorized by the Committee. Any agreements or understandings concerning the administration of the accounts maintained by the Selected Bank with the foreign banks designated by the Board of Governors under section 214.5 of Regulation N shall be referred for review and approval to the Committee.

5. Foreign currency holdings shall be invested to ensure that adequate liquidity is maintained to meet anticipated needs and so that each currency portfolio shall generally have an average duration of no more than 24 months (calculated as Macaulay duration). Such investments may include buying or selling outright obligations of, or fully guaranteed as to principal and interest by, a foreign government or agency thereof; buying such securities under agreements for repurchase of such securities; selling such securities under agreements for the resale of such securities; and holding various time and other deposit accounts at foreign institutions. In addition, when appropriate in connection with arrangements to provide investment facilities for foreign currency holdings, U.S. government securities may be purchased from foreign central banks under agreements for repurchase of such securities within 30 calendar days.

6. All operations undertaken pursuant to the preceding paragraphs shall be reported promptly to the Foreign Currency Subcommittee (the "Subcommittee") and the Committee. The Subcommittee consists of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Committee, the Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors, and such other member of the Board as the Chairman may designate (or in the absence of members of the Board serving on the Subcommittee, other Board members designated by the Chairman as alternates, and in the absence of the Vice Chairman of the Committee, the Vice Chairman's alternate). Meetings of the Subcommittee shall be called at the request of any member, or at the request of the manager, System Open Market Account ("manager"), for the purposes of reviewing recent or contemplated operations and of consulting with the manager on other matters relating to the manager's responsibilities. At the request of any member of the Subcommittee, questions arising from such reviews and consultations shall be referred for determination to the Committee.

7. The Chairman is authorized:

A. With the approval of the Committee, to enter into any needed agreement or understanding with the Secretary of the Treasury about the division of responsibility for foreign currency operations between the System and the Treasury;

B. To keep the Secretary of the Treasury fully advised concerning System foreign currency operations, and to consult with the Secretary on policy matters relating to foreign currency operations;

C. From time to time, to transmit appropriate reports and information to the National Advisory Council on International Monetary and Financial Policies.

8. All Federal Reserve Banks shall participate in the foreign currency operations for System Account in accordance with paragraph 3G(1) of the Board of Governors' Statement of Procedure with Respect to Foreign Relationships of Federal Reserve Banks dated January 1, 1944.

9. The Committee authorizes the Selected Bank to undertake transactions of the type described in paragraphs 1, 2, and 5, and foreign exchange and investment transactions that it may be otherwise authorized to undertake from time to time for the purpose of testing operational readiness. The aggregate amount of such transactions shall not exceed $2.5 billion per calendar year. These transactions shall be conducted with prior notice to the Committee.

FOREIGN CURRENCY DIRECTIVE
(As reaffirmed effective January 26, 2016)

1. System operations in foreign currencies shall generally be directed at countering disorderly market conditions, provided that market exchange rates for the U.S. dollar reflect actions and behavior consistent with IMF Article IV, Section 1.

2. To achieve this end the System shall:

A. Undertake spot and forward purchases and sales of foreign exchange.

B. Maintain reciprocal currency arrangements with foreign central banks in accordance with the Authorization for Foreign Currency Operations.

C. Maintain standing dollar liquidity swap arrangements with foreign banks in accordance with the Authorization for Foreign Currency Operations.

D. Maintain standing foreign currency liquidity swap arrangements with foreign banks in accordance with the Authorization for Foreign Currency Operations.

E. Cooperate in other respects with central banks of other countries and with international monetary institutions.

3. Transactions may also be undertaken:

A. To adjust System balances in light of probable future needs for currencies.

B. To provide means for meeting System and Treasury commitments in particular currencies, and to facilitate operations of the Exchange Stabilization Fund.

C. For such other purposes as may be expressly authorized by the Committee.

4. System foreign currency operations shall be conducted:

A. In close and continuous consultation and cooperation with the United States Treasury;

B. In cooperation, as appropriate, with foreign monetary authorities; and

C. In a manner consistent with the obligations of the United States in the International Monetary Fund regarding exchange arrangements under IMF Article IV.

PROCEDURAL INSTRUCTIONS WITH RESPECT TO FOREIGN CURRENCY OPERATIONS
(As reaffirmed effective January 26, 2016)

In conducting operations pursuant to the authorization and direction of the Federal Open Market Committee (the "Committee") as set forth in the Authorization for Foreign Currency Operations and the Foreign Currency Directive, the Federal Reserve Bank selected by the Committee to execute open market transactions (the "Selected Bank"), through the manager, System Open Market Account ("manager"), shall be guided by the following procedural understandings with respect to consultations and clearances with the Committee, the Foreign Currency Subcommittee (the "Subcommittee"), and the Chairman of the Committee, unless otherwise directed by the Committee. All operations undertaken pursuant to such clearances shall be reported promptly to the Committee.

1. For the reciprocal currency arrangements authorized in paragraphs 2.A of the Authorization for Foreign Currency Operations:

A. Drawings must be approved by the Subcommittee (or by the Chairman, if the Chairman believes that consultation with the Subcommittee is not feasible in the time available) if the swap drawing proposed by a foreign bank does not exceed the larger of (i) $200 million or (ii) 15 percent of the size of the swap arrangement.

B. Drawings must be approved by the Committee (or by the Subcommittee, if the Subcommittee believes that consultation with the full Committee is not feasible in the time available, or by the Chairman, if the Chairman believes that consultation with the Subcommittee is not feasible in the time available) if the swap drawing proposed by a foreign bank exceeds the larger of (i) $200 million or (ii) 15 percent of the size of the swap arrangement.

C. The manager shall also consult with the Subcommittee or the Chairman about proposed swap drawings by the System.

D. Any changes in the terms of existing swap arrangements shall be referred for review and approval to the Chairman. The Chairman shall keep the Committee informed of any changes in terms, and the terms shall be consistent with principles discussed with and guidance provided by the Committee.

2. For the dollar and foreign currency liquidity swap arrangements authorized in paragraphs 2.B and 2.C of the Authorization for Foreign Currency Operations:

A. Drawings must be approved by the Chairman in consultation with the Subcommittee. The Chairman or the Subcommittee will consult with the Committee prior to the initial drawing on the dollar or foreign currency liquidity swap lines if possible under the circumstances then prevailing; authority to approve subsequent drawings for either the dollar or foreign currency liquidity swap lines may be delegated to the manager by the Chairman.

B. Any changes in the terms of existing swap arrangements shall be referred for review and approval to the Chairman. The Chairman shall keep the Committee informed of any changes in terms, and the terms shall be consistent with principles discussed with and guidance provided by the Committee.

3. Any operation must be approved by:

A. The Subcommittee (or by the Chairman, if the Chairman believes that consultation with the Subcommittee is not feasible in the time available) if it:

i. Would result in a change in the System's overall open position in foreign currencies exceeding $300 million on any day or $600 million since the most recent regular meeting of the Committee.

ii. Would result in a change on any day in the System's net position in a single foreign currency exceeding $150 million, or $300 million when the operation is associated with repayment of swap drawings.

iii. Might generate a substantial volume of trading in a particular currency by the System, even though the change in the System's net position in that currency (as defined in paragraph 1.D of the Authorization for Foreign Currency Operations) might be less than the limits specified in 3.A.ii.

B. The Committee (or by the Subcommittee, if the Subcommittee believes that consultation with the full Committee is not feasible in the time available, or by the Chairman, if the Chairman believes that consultation with the Subcommittee is not feasible in the time available) if it would result in a change in the System's overall open position in foreign currencies exceeding $1.5 billion since the most recent regular meeting of the Committee.

4. The Committee authorizes the Selected Bank to undertake transactions of the type described in paragraphs 1, 2, and 5 of the Authorization for Foreign Currency Operations and foreign exchange and investment transactions that it may be otherwise authorized to undertake from time to time for the purpose of testing operational readiness. The aggregate amount of such transactions shall not exceed $2.5 billion per calendar year. These transactions shall be conducted with prior notice to the Committee.

By unanimous vote, the Committee amended its Program for Security of FOMC Information (Program) with four sets of changes. These changes consisted of (1) a clarification that all Federal Reserve persons, which includes FOMC participants as well as staff members, must receive, review, and agree to abide by the Program before gaining access to confidential FOMC information, and annually thereafter; (2) a change to provide the Chairman flexibility to designate Board staff members to make decisions regarding access to FOMC information by Board staff; (3) technical changes to improve the consistency and accuracy of Program language; and (4) changes to the Program's provisions for handling potential breaches of the Committee's information security rules. This final set of changes codifies the approach used in recent years of promptly referring material potential breaches to the Board's inspector general (IG). In addition, it incorporates revised language that states that the prompt referral to the IG, which would include a request for an investigation, would be made by the secretary or the Committee's general counsel, with appropriate consultation with the Chairman, thereby vesting the referral responsibility in more than one person and thus reducing the possibility of any apparent conflict of interest in making a referral determination.

At the end of the Committee's annual disposition of organizational matters, participants considered a revised Statement on Longer-Run Goals and Monetary Policy Strategy. The proposed revisions would clarify that the Committee viewed its 2 percent inflation goal as symmetric. In presenting the revised statement on behalf of the subcommittee on communications, Governor Fischer pointed out that, in a discussion of the statement in October 2014, participants had expressed widespread agreement that inflation moderately above the Committee's 2 percent goal and inflation the same amount below that level were equally costly. He noted that the proposed language was intended to encompass situations in which deviations from the Committee's inflation objective were expected to continue for a time and had the potential to affect longer-term inflation expectations. In addition to the explicit indication that the Committee viewed its inflation objective as symmetric, the revised statement would update the reference to participants' estimates of the longer-run normal rate of unemployment from the most recent Summary of Economic Projections (SEP), using the median of those projections rather than the central tendency.

Participants noted that the statement reflects an exceptionally high degree of consensus and that the threshold for amendments should be high; they judged that the revisions were important because they would clarify the symmetry of the Committee's 2 percent inflation objective and communicate to the public that the objective was not a ceiling. Participants also noted that the proposed new language indicating that the Committee would "be concerned if inflation were running persistently above or below" its 2 percent objective would not require that participants hold similar views about inflation dynamics; in addition, the proposed language would not specify the stance of monetary policy in such circumstances but would afford the Committee appropriate flexibility in tailoring a policy response to persistent deviations from the inflation objective. Moreover, participants generally agreed that the proposed new language should be interpreted as applying to situations in which inflation was seen as likely to remain below or above 2 percent for a sustained period. However, one participant judged that the proposed language could be read as referring to current and past deviations from the inflation objective, and argued that the statement should more clearly indicate that the Committee's policy decisions were based on expected future inflation. A couple of others agreed that there were reasons for concerns about deviations above or below the 2 percent objective, but noted that the reasons for, and degree of, those concerns could differ depending upon the direction of the deviation or broader macroeconomic conditions.

All participants but one supported adopting the proposed amendments. Participants agreed that it was appropriate to release the amended statement, which is reproduced below, in advance of the Monetary Policy Report and testimony, which were scheduled for mid-February.

STATEMENT ON LONGER-RUN GOALS AND MONETARY POLICY STRATEGY
(As amended effective January 26, 2016)

"The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is firmly committed to fulfilling its statutory mandate from the Congress of promoting maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates. The Committee seeks to explain its monetary policy decisions to the public as clearly as possible. Such clarity facilitates well-informed decisionmaking by households and businesses, reduces economic and financial uncertainty, increases the effectiveness of monetary policy, and enhances transparency and accountability, which are essential in a democratic society.

Inflation, employment, and long-term interest rates fluctuate over time in response to economic and financial disturbances. Moreover, monetary policy actions tend to influence economic activity and prices with a lag. Therefore, the Committee's policy decisions reflect its longer-run goals, its medium-term outlook, and its assessments of the balance of risks, including risks to the financial system that could impede the attainment of the Committee's goals.

The inflation rate over the longer run is primarily determined by monetary policy, and hence the Committee has the ability to specify a longer-run goal for inflation. The Committee reaffirms its judgment that inflation at the rate of 2 percent, as measured by the annual change in the price index for personal consumption expenditures, is most consistent over the longer run with the Federal Reserve's statutory mandate. The Committee would be concerned if inflation were running persistently above or below this objective. Communicating this symmetric inflation goal clearly to the public helps keep longer-term inflation expectations firmly anchored, thereby fostering price stability and moderate long-term interest rates and enhancing the Committee's ability to promote maximum employment in the face of significant economic disturbances. The maximum level of employment is largely determined by nonmonetary factors that affect the structure and dynamics of the labor market. These factors may change over time and may not be directly measurable. Consequently, it would not be appropriate to specify a fixed goal for employment; rather, the Committee's policy decisions must be informed by assessments of the maximum level of employment, recognizing that such assessments are necessarily uncertain and subject to revision. The Committee considers a wide range of indicators in making these assessments. Information about Committee participants' estimates of the longer-run normal rates of output growth and unemployment is published four times per year in the FOMC's Summary of Economic Projections. For example, in the most recent projections, the median of FOMC participants' estimates of the longer-run normal rate of unemployment was 4.9 percent.

In setting monetary policy, the Committee seeks to mitigate deviations of inflation from its longer-run goal and deviations of employment from the Committee's assessments of its maximum level. These objectives are generally complementary. However, under circumstances in which the Committee judges that the objectives are not complementary, it follows a balanced approach in promoting them, taking into account the magnitude of the deviations and the potentially different time horizons over which employment and inflation are projected to return to levels judged consistent with its mandate.

The Committee intends to reaffirm these principles and to make adjustments as appropriate at its annual organizational meeting each January."
All Committee members but one voted to adopt the revised statement. Although Mr. Bullard supported the statement without the changes and agreed that the Committee's inflation goal is symmetric, he dissented because he judged that the amended language was not sufficiently focused on expected future deviations of inflation from the 2 percent objective. In addition, because the Committee's past behavior had demonstrated the emphasis it places on expected future inflation, Mr. Bullard viewed the amended language as potentially confusing to the public.

Developments in Financial Markets, Open Market Operations, and Policy Normalization
The SOMA manager reported on developments in domestic and foreign financial markets, including changes in the expectations of market participants for the trajectory of monetary policy. The deputy manager followed with a briefing on money market developments and System open market operations conducted by the Open Market Desk during the period since the Committee met on December 15-16, 2015. The report included an assessment of the response of money market interest rates to the increase in the target range for the federal funds rate announced following the December meeting. Overall, the rate increase was implemented smoothly and money markets responded as anticipated. Take-up of overnight reverse repurchase agreement (ON RRP) operations over this period was consistent with that observed in the testing phase of operations over the second half of last year. The deputy manager also reviewed plans for reinvestment of the proceeds of upcoming maturations of SOMA holdings of Treasury securities, for small-value tests of various System operations and facilities during 2016, a

 

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