The Federal Reserve said Friday its balance sheet swelled to $4 trillion at the end of 2013 as it made massive asset purchases to support the U.S. economy.
The Fed, in a report of its 2013 financial results, said net assets increased by $1.1 trillion compared with its balance on Dec. 31, 2012.
It paid net profit of $79.6 billion to the U.S. Treasury. By law, the non-profit central bank is required to turn over any profit in excess of operating and other expenses to the government.
Last year's Treasury payment was less than the record $88.4 billion in 2012. The Fed said it had reaped no gains on the sales of U.S. Treasury securities in 2013 compared with $13.3 billion in gains in the prior year.
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While earnings are generated by the interest rate the Fed charges to banks in refinancing operations, the bulk of the Fed's 2013 earnings came from interest accrued from the asset-purchase program, which is aimed at tamping down long-term interest rates to encourage U.S. lending and hiring.
Interest income on securities grew to $90.4 billion at the end of 2013, an increase of $9.9 billion from a year earlier.
The central bank racked up $85 billion a month in asset purchases every month last year. In January and February it cut that back by $10 billion each month, slowing the buying pace to $65 billion.
By the end of the year, the Fed's holdings of U.S. Treasury securities increased by $550.2 billion, and federal agency and certain mortgage-backed securities grew by $583.5 billion.
The Federal Open Market Committee is widely expected to decide on another $10 billion cut to asset purchases at its policy meeting next Tuesday and Wednesday.