Fed Balance Sheet Grows to Unprecedented $5.81 Trillion.

Federal Reserve System

The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet expanded to a record $5.81 trillion as the central bank continued robust purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities to help restore market order amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Total assets held by the Fed rose by $557 billion in the week through April 1, according to data published Thursday on its website. Liquidity swaps with foreign central banks climbed by $142.5 billion to $348.5 billion, as the Fed also sought to ease access to dollar funding strain worldwide.

The central bank has rolled out several emergency liquidity programs to keep credit flowing in financial markets and the economy amid investor panic over the global spread of the virus. The scale of its current bond-buying efforts already dwarfs that of the purchase programs it undertook in the wake of the last financial crisis.

Purchases through the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility rose $22 billion to $52.7 billion. Investment Company Institute data released Thursday showed that the program had helped stanch outflows of funds from prime money market funds.

Lending through the Primary Dealer Credit Facility rose just $5.3 billion to $33.1 billion. Borrowing by banks from the Fed’s discount window slipped to $43.7 billion from $50.8 billion the prior week.

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