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Comment: Fed slows pace of asset purchases in April 29 week while holdings top $5.5 trillion

The Fed’s purchases of US Treasurys and Agency MBS slowed in the week ended Wednesday, April 29. Buys of Treasury notes and bonds slowed to up $81.5 billion, the lowest since the March 25 week. Purchases of Agency MBS were up $29.3 billion, well below the $110.1 billion in the prior week. The total buys of $110.7 billion brought the size of the balance sheet up to $5.563 trillion, another record high.

In his post-FOMC meeting press briefing on April 29, Chair Jerome Powell indicated that the need to aggressively buy assets to support market functioning had diminished, but that the Fed would keep at it until they were certain the crisis was past.

Foreign central banks continued to make active use of swap lines. The level increased $28.0 billion to $434.3 billion at month-end.

Discount window loans declined for a second week, down $3.7 billion to $31.3 billion.

Repurchase operations and reverse repurchases were also lower and back to more normal levels. Repurchases were down for a sixth week in a row and declined $8.0 billion to $163.6 billion. Reverse repos were down $19.3 billion to $271.3 billion.

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