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Reproduced from BofA Global Research; Note: Banks included are US Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, Bank of Japan, Bank of England, Bank of China and Reserve Bank of Australia; Chart: Axios Visuals

By the end of this year, analysts at Bank of America Global Research estimate the Fed's balance sheet will have risen to nearly $10 trillion and the world's six largest central banks will have taken their holdings from around $15 trillion to $25 trillion worth of assets.

The big picture: The Fed now has the largest balance sheet of all central banks, having surpassed the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan.

  • The U.S. central bank's holdings are now equal to 34% of U.S. GDP and are expected to reach 48% by year-end, according to BofA's data.

State of play: To put the size of Fed asset purchases this year into perspective, BofA analysts note that "a few weeks ago it was buying the same quantity per day as it was per month during the [global financial crisis]."

What they're saying: This is "monetary policymaking on steroids," Michael Arone, chief investment strategist for State Street Global Advisors, says in a note to clients.

  • "This evolving, new approach to monetary policy during a crisis may never be walked back."

Why it matters: We could already be seeing the Fed's impact.

  • The stock market, bond market and rising home values may be evidence of distortions and asset price bubbles rather than a reflection of confidence or an expected rebound for the economy.

The bottom line: "The disconnect between an investment’s underlying fundamentals and its price make investors uneasy," Arone says.

  • "As a result of the Fed’s new programs, this tension is now most evident in the credit markets. Sadly, investors may have no choice but to dive in."

Go deeper: The Fed's coronavirus response could have unintended results

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Jan 29, 2021 - Economy & Business

The state of the U.S. economy after one year of the coronavirus

Source: St. Louis Fed; Billions of chained 2012 dollars; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy shrank by 3.5% last year, the Commerce Department reported, with the country seeing both its largest quarterly GDP decline and its largest quarterly GDP increase in the second and third quarters, respectively.

Where it stands: The 3.5% decline is the worst year for the U.S. since at least the end of World War II, and the economy is more than $473 billion smaller than it was before the pandemic hit.

Updated 12 mins ago - Sports

IOC: Belarus sprinter who sought refuge in Tokyo "safe"

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya of Belarus in 2019. Photo: Ivan Romano/Getty Images

Belarus' Olympian Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who sought refuge in Tokyo, is in the care of Japanese authorities and the UN refugee agency is now involved in her case, an International Olympic Committee official told reporters Monday.

Driving the news: The sprinter said she wouldn't obey orders and board a flight home after being taken to Tokyo's s Haneda airport by team officials Sunday following her criticism of Belarusian coaches, per Reuters. She spent the night in an airport hotel.

Updated 45 mins ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Italy's Lamont Marcell Jacobs of Team Italy crosses the finish line ahead of American Fred Kerley in the men's 100m final on day nine of the Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan, on Sunday. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

🚨: IOC "looking into" American Raven Saunders' Olympic podium gesture

🏃🏾: Italy's Lamont Marcell Jacobs: Reconnecting with U.S. father "gave me the desire to win" Olympic 100m sprint race.

🥇High jumpers persuade Olympic officials to let them share gold

🏌️‍♂️: Golfer Xander Schauffele wins gold for U.S. by one shot

🤸🏿‍♀️: Simone Biles won't compete in Olympic floor finals, individual vault or uneven bars

🏳️‍⚧️: Axios at the Olympics: Games grapple with trans athletesTrans athletes see the Tokyo Games as a watershed moment

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage