Fed Balance Sheet Hits $5.5 Trillion As Discount Window Usage Soars

As previewed last night when we showed that in the past week the Fed has bought a staggering $587BN in Treasuries and MBS, we calculated that as of March 25, the Fed’s balance sheet would rise to a record $5.3 trillion, a phenomenal increase of $1.2 trillion in just the past two weeks, equivalent to roughly 5.6% of US GDP.

Today, the release of the latest weekly H.4.1 statement from the Fed confirmed our math, and that as of close on Wednesday, March 25, the Fed’s total asset were indeed $5.3 trillion. Which, sadly, is now a stale number because we now live in a world where the Fed buys a record $125 billion in bonds (and who knows what else either directly or via Blackrock) every single day, which means that as of the Friday’s close, the Fed will have added a record $625 billion to its balance sheet…

… and more specifically, $250 billion to the total as of March 25. In other words, in just a few short hours, the Fed’s balance sheet will be $5.5 trillion…

… an increase of $1.3 trillion in two weeks (6% of GDP), which was the amount the Fed monetized during all of QE1 in response to the financial crisis, but which took place over a period of almost 2 years.

And as an aside, the Fed’s push to get banks to use the discount window appears to have worked: after more than a decade of stigma associated with any bank caught within 100 feet of the Primary Credit Facility, also known as the Discount Window, and with zero usage since mid-2010, last week borrowings under the Discount Window surge to $40 billion.

And while the Fed’s attempts to legitimize and de-stigmatize Discount Window usage are noble, we doubt it will be public just which bank(s) had to resort to this “Plan Z” source of funding.

The original article is located at ZeroHedge.com

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