NEW YORK, June 3 The U.S. Federal Reserve's
balance sheet grew slightly in the latest week, Fed data
released on Thursday showed.
The balance sheet -- a broad gauge of Fed lending to the
financial system -- rose to $2.318 trillion in the week ended
June 2 from $2.317 trillion the previous week.
After declining early last year, the balance sheet had been
accumulating mass amid the U.S. central bank's asset-buying
The program, known as quantitative easing, was aimed at
broadly holding down borrowing costs and supporting the ailing
housing market while the economy recovered from the worst
recession in 70 years.
That effort was also led by the Fed's purchases of
mortgage-related securities. The Fed ended its purchases of
these securities at the end of March but has continued to take
delivery on them.
The Fed's holdings of mortgage-backed securities backed by
housing finance companies Fannie Mae FNM.N and Freddie Mac
FRE.N totaled $1.114 trillion on June 2, up from $1.113
trillion the previous week.
The U.S. central bank's ownership of debt issued by Fannie
Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Bank System was
$166.72 billion compared with $167.38 billion a week earlier.
The Fed's direct overnight lending to top-rated banks fell
in the week ended June 2. Primary credit via the Fed's discount
window averaged $678 million a day compared with $4.32 billion
per day in the previous week.
(Reporting by Chris Reese; Editing by Leslie Adler)