UPDATE 1-U.S. commercial paper supply highest since August 2011

Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:29am EST

NEW YORK Jan 17 (Reuters) - The U.S. commercial paper market expanded to its largest size in 17 months, Federal Reserve data showed on Thursday, suggesting steady growth by the economy.

Companies raise short-term cash by selling commercial paper to money market funds and other investors to finance inventories, payrolls and other daily operations.

U.S. seasonally adjusted commercial paper outstanding rose for a 12th straight week. It jumped $27.8 billion to $1.133 trillion in the week ended Jan. 16.

The latest figure was the highest since $1.147 trillion in the week ended Aug. 17, 2011, according to Fed data.

Non-seasonally adjusted commercial paper outstanding - which some analysts consider more reliable than seasonally adjusted since it has been distorted by the financial crisis - rose $28.9 billion to $1.030 trillion.

This was the highest level of short-term corporate debt on a non-seasonally adjusted basis since the week of Nov. 16, 2011 when it stood at $1.031 trillion.

U.S. non-seasonally adjusted commercial paper outstanding from foreign financial companies rose $13.4 billion to $231 billion.

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