Monday, February 23, 2009

New Federal Reserve website

This morning the Federal Reserve launched a new section at the Board of Governors website. The new section on Credit and Liquidity Programs and the Balance Sheet gives a good overview of the actions the Fed has taken to deal with the crisis. Most importantly, it's pretty readable for a general audience. Of note is the inclusion of charts of the Fed's balance sheet. The sheet has more than double this year from about $920 billion in January of 2008 to over $2 trillion the same time this year.

The Fed provides the figure below.

The Fed chart which goes back to 2007 does a good job of showing the spike in assets. Yet if we go back farther, say to 1996 we see that the growth seen this year is phenomenal.

(Source: Federal Reseve Statistical Release H.4.1 Factors Affecting Reserve Balances, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, weekly)

Sorry the data is only a few points since the Fed provides this series only as text--I have yet to read it all into a file. Yet we can still see the slow growth over that period. It took over a decade for the Fed's assets to double. Due to the Fed's litany of new lending programs including TALF, swap lines, and commercial paper, the current doubling took less than a year.

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