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Federal Reserve’s Balance Sheet Tops $5 Trillion for First Time

Matthew Boesler
Federal Reserve’s Balance Sheet Tops $5 Trillion for First Time

(Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet topped $5 trillion for the first time amid the U.S. central bank’s aggressive efforts to cushion debt markets against the coronavirus outbreak through large-scale bond-buying programs.

Total assets held by the Fed rose by $586 billion to $5.25 trillion in the week through March 25, according to data published Thursday on its website. Borrowing by banks from the Fed’s discount window jumped to $50.8 billion.

The central bank has rolled out several liquidity programs over the last few weeks to keep credit flowing in financial markets and the economy amid investor panic over the global spread of the virus. The scale of its current bond-buying efforts already dwarfs that of the purchase programs it undertook in the wake of the last financial crisis.

The Fed is also expected to establish a Main Street Business Lending Program to provide help to smaller firms.

Borrowing under its Primary Dealer Credit Facility was $27.7 billion as of Wednesday, with the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility standing at $30.6 billion. Borrowing by foreign central banks soared to $206 billion -- the highest since 2009 -- following the Fed’s March 19 announcement that it would expand dollar swap lines to a larger group of nations.

(An earlier version of this story corrected the date in the second paragraph.)

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