Fed balance sheet grows to record again in latest week

NEW YORK Fri Apr 26, 2013 7:32am EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve's balance sheet hit a new record in the latest week on increased holdings of U.S. government 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 $3.276 trillion on April 24, up from $3.252 trillion on April 17.

The Fed's holdings of Treasuries totaled $1.836 trillion as of Wednesday, April 24, versus $1.825 trillion the previous week.

The Fed's overnight direct loans to credit-worthy banks via its discount window averaged $17 million a day during the week versus $2 million a day previously.

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) rose to $1.136 trillion from $1.126 trillion the previous week.

The Fed's holdings of debt issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Bank system totaled $72.05 billion, versus $72.05 billion the prior week.

(Corrects figure in 5th paragraph to $1.136 trillion from $1.136 billion.)

(Reporting by Ellen Freilich; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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