Weekly U.S. Debt and Fed Assets Update

by: Rolfe Winkler, CFA

I will be updating this info each week in order to track fiscal and monetary policy from a bird’s eye view. (For those interested, a tutorial regarding this data here.)

According to the Treasury Dept., Total U.S. Public Debt Outstanding increased $65.9 billion this week to $11.22 trillion. We’re well on our way to $12 trillion…

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According to the Fed, average assets on its balance sheet increased $29.1 billion this week to $2.15 trillion. The increase was due primarily to $51 billion of mortgage-backed securities purchases (offset by a decline in central bank swap lines). By printing money to buy MBS, the Fed can help keep a lid on mortgage rates. This artificially inflates real estate demand. As bad as the real estate market is behaving, it would be much worse if interest rates weren’t being held artificially low.

(Click to enlarge)