(CNSNews.com) – The Federal Reserve’s holdings of publicly traded U.S. Treasury securities—federal government debt—pushed above $2 trillion for the first time last week, hitting approximately $2,001,093,000,000 as of Aug. 14, according to the Fed’s latest weekly accounting.
The Fed’s accounting for the previous week showed that it had owned approximately $1,993,375,000,000 in U.S. Treasury securities as of Aug. 7.
Back on Dec. 31, 2008, before the Fed began its strategy of “Quantitative Easing,” the Fed owned only $475.9 billion in U.S. Treasury securities. Since then, the Fed’s holdings of U.S. government debt have more than quadrupled.
Launched in 2009, the Fed’s Quantitative Easing (QE) efforts have attempted to stimulate the economy.
“Under QE,” explains a February 2013 Congressional Research Service report, “the Fed attempts to lower long-term Treasury and MBS [mortgage-backed security] yields directly through purchases that drive down their yields, in the hope that lower Treasury and MBS yields will indirectly filter through to reductions in other private long-term yields. (Lower Treasury yields do not directly stimulate economic activity—they are only stimulative if other yields fall as a result.) This could occur because Treasury securities are considered a ‘benchmark’ against which other private securities are priced, so that other securities are automatically repriced when Treasuries are repriced (although the change is unlikely to be one-to-one).”
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