UPDATE 1-US Fed balace sheet grows to record in latest week

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NEW YORK, March 31 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve’s
balance sheet grew to another record size in the latest week as
the central bank bought more bonds in an effort to support the
economy, Fed data released on Thursday showed.

The purchases were part of its $600 billion quantitative
easing program, dubbed QE2, with the goal to stimulate
investments and economic activity.

The balance sheet, a broad gauge of Fed lending to the
financial system, expanded to $2.606 trillion in the week ended
March 30 from $2.585 trillion the prior week.

The central bank’s holding of U.S. government securities
grew to $1.333 trillion on Wednesday from last week’s $1.305
trillion total.

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For balance sheet graphic: http://link.reuters.com/buf92k

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The Fed’s ownership of mortgage bonds guaranteed by Fannie
Mae (FNMA.OB: Quote, Profile, Research), Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB: Quote, Profile, Research) and the Government
National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) declined to $937.16
billion from $943.85 billion in the latest week.

The Fed’s holdings of debt issued by Fannie, Freddie and
the Federal Home Loan Bank system totaled $132.50 billion,
unchanged on the prior week.

The Fed’s overnight direct loans to credit-worthy banks via
its discount window averaged $11 million a day in the week
ended Wednesday, up from an average daily rate of $3 million
last week.
(Reporting by Karen Brettell; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

UPDATE 1-US Fed balace sheet grows to record in latest week