U.S. Fed balance sheet grows to record large size

NEW YORK Thu Mar 7, 2013 4:31pm EST

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

The Fed's balance sheet, a broad gauge of its lending to the financial system, stood at $3.091 trillion on March 6, compared with $3.072 trillion on February 27.

The Fed's holdings of Treasuries totaled $1.762 trillion as of Wednesday versus $1.750 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 $1.016 trillion on Wednesday, which was little changed from the previous week.

The Fed's holdings of debt issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Bank system was $73.59 billion, unchanged on the week.

The Fed's overnight direct loans to credit-worthy banks via its discount window averaged $21 million a day compared with an average of $3 million per day the prior week.

(Reporting by Chris Reese; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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