U.S. Fed buys $16.9 bln mortgage bonds, sells $2 bln

NEW YORK Thu Nov 29, 2012 3:04pm EST

NEW YORK Nov 29 (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve bought $16.9 billion in agency mortgage-backed securities from Nov. 22 to Nov. 29, less than the $18.7 billion it bought in the prior week, the New York Fed said on Thursday.

The U.S. central bank sold $2.0 billion mortgage securities guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) in the latest week. It sold none the previous week, the New York Fed said on its website.

On Sept. 14, the Fed began a $40 billion monthly increase in MBS purchases, its third round of large-scale bond buying known as QE3, in an attempt to support the housing recovery and boost overall economic growth.

Since October 2011, the Fed has been using funds from principal payments on the agency debt and agency MBS it holds to reinvest in agency MBS, which was an earlier move to help the housing market.

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