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Fed balance sheet tops $8 trillion for first time -data

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve building is pictured in Washington, DC

By Kate Duguid

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The Federal Reserve's balance sheet topped $8 trillion for the first time, weekly data published on Thursday by the U.S. central bank on its holdings showed.

At $8 trillion, the Fed's stash of assets has roughly doubled since it kicked off large-scale purchases in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic erupted and brought the economy to a near standstill.

The report also showed the Fed appears to have sold around $160 million of its corporate debt holdings since Monday, following the announcement it would unwind its nearly $14 billion corporate credit portfolio. As a first step, the central bank began selling its stakes in 16 bond exchange-traded funds on Monday.

The Fed's credit facility was just one of many emergency measures launched last spring to shore up financial markets badly shaken by the coronavirus pandemic's rapid spread. While the Fed's backstop restored liquidity to the credit market, the facility was ultimately little used and the sale of its holdings is not expected to have serious effects on the market.

(Reporting by Kate Duguid in New YorkEditing by Jonathan Oatis and Matthew Lewis)