U.S. Fed buys $17.75 bln of mortgage bonds, sells $750 mln

NEW YORK, March 21 Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:33pm EDT

NEW YORK, March 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve bought $17.75 billion of agency mortgage-backed securities from March 14 through March 20, down from $21.55 billion in the prior week, the New York Federal Reserve Bank said on Thursday.

The U.S. central bank sold $750 million in mortgage securities guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the Government National Mortgage Association, or Ginnie Mae, in the latest week. It sold $3.35 million 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 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, a move to help the housing market.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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