NEW YORK The size of the Federal Reserve's balance sheet reached a record, Fed data released on Thursday showed, due to the central bank's purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities that are part of its unconventional policy aimed at supporting economic growth.
The Fed's balance sheet - a broad gauge of its lending to the financial system - stood at $2.994 trillion on January 23, up from $2.946 trillion on January 16.
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 $983.2 billion, up from $947.61 billion the previous week.
The Fed's holdings of Treasuries totaled $1.697 trillion as of Wednesday, higher than $1.689 trillion 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, unchanged from the prior week.
The Fed's overnight direct loans to credit-worthy banks via its discount window averaged $5 million a day during the week compared with a $9 million a day average rate the prior week.