Fed's balance sheet logged $84 bln profit last year

NEW YORK, April 17 Thu Apr 17, 2014 12:18pm EDT

NEW YORK, April 17 (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve logged $84 billion in net profit last year on its massive portfolio of assets, and average income will probably remain higher than before the financial crisis for another decade to come, according to an annual report.

The New York Fed's report on its open market operations, released on Thursday, painted an optimistic picture of what could be a thorny political issue for the U.S. central bank: whether all its bond-buying will eventually lead to losses that the government would absorb.

But for now, the Fed continues to transfer profits to the U.S. Treasury.

"The large size of the SOMA portfolio, its considerable holdings of longer-term securities, and the low interest rates paid on the Federal Reserve's interest-bearing liabilities continued to generate high portfolio net income, which totaled $84 billion in 2013," the report said.

Based on current expectations for the portfolio and interest rates, as well as the expectation that the Fed will not sell its mortgage-based securities, it said "net income is projected to remain higher than pre-crisis levels, on average, through 2025 in the current baseline projection and many alternative scenarios." (Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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