Fed's balance sheet grows to record size in latest week

NEW YORK Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:32pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve's balance sheet grew to a record large size in the latest week with an increase in holdings of U.S. Treasury debt and mortgage-backed securities, Fed data released on Thursday showed.

The Fed's balance sheet - a broad gauge of its lending to the financial system - stood at $2.946 trillion on January 16, compared with $2.911 trillion on January 9 and above the previous record-large size of $2.920 trillion from the week ended February 15, 2012.

The Fed's holdings of Treasuries totaled $1.689 trillion as of Wednesday versus $1.676 trillion the previous week.

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) totaled $947.61 billion compared with $926.71 billion the previous week.

The Fed's holdings of debt issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Bank system was $75.11 billion from $76.36 billion the prior week.

The Fed's overnight direct loans to credit-worthy banks via its discount window averaged $9 million a day during the week compared with a $7 million a day average rate the prior week.

(Reporting by Chris Reese; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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