Fed balance sheet shrinks in latest week

NEW YORK Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:40pm EDT

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies about monetary policy before the House Financial Services on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 29, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies about monetary policy before the House Financial Services on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 29, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Federal Reserve's balance sheet contracted slightly in the latest week, Fed data released on Thursday showed.

The Fed's balance sheet - a broad gauge of its lending to the financial system - stood at $2.861 trillion on March 28, down from $2.8756 trillion on March 21.

The Fed's holdings of Treasuries totaled $1.665 trillion as of Wednesday, March 28, versus $1.663 trillion the previous week.

The Fed's overnight direct loans to credit-worthy banks via its discount window averaged $4 million a day during the week versus $12 million a day previously.

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Federal Reserve balance sheet: link.reuters.com/cub62s

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The Fed's ownership of mortgage bonds guaranteed by Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB), Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB) and the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) was $836.8 billion versus $851.3 billion the previous week.

The Fed's holdings of debt issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Bank system totaled $96.5 billion, versus $98.99 billion the prior week.

(Reporting By Emily Flitter; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

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