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Expand chart
Data: Federal Reserve; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Fed's balance sheet shrank last week with holdings touching their lowest level since mid-December, the strongest decline since the Fed restarted its bond-buying program in September.

Why it matters: The Fed will likely have to address its longer-term plans for liquidity injections to the repo market and the program that Chairman Jerome Powell has insisted on referring to as "not QE," but many market participants have dubbed "QE4," or the fourth phase of quantitative easing.

  • Powell says the program is not a form of QE, a highly controversial stimulus program created to help dig the U.S. economy out of a hole after the financial crisis.
  • But even members of the Fed's rate-setting committee assert that the program is helping to boost the prices of risk assets like stocks.

Between the lines: That likely paints the Fed into a corner in addressing the program at its meeting tomorrow, Tom Essaye, director of Sevens Report Research, says in a note.

  • "[T]he dovish Fed has underwritten a lot of this four-plus-month rally, and they need to reassure markets they’re going to stay dovish this week."
  • "Conversely, if the Fed signals that it’s looking to determine an end to the repo operations, that will be hawkish and likely hit markets, potentially hard."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
45 mins ago - Economy & Business

Biden's inflation danger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal has economists and bullish market analysts revising their U.S. growth expectations higher, predicting a reflation of the economy in 2021 and possibly more booming returns for risk assets.

Yes, but: Others are warning that what's expected to be reflation could actually show up as inflation, a much less welcome phenomenon.

Ina Fried, author of Login
3 hours ago - Technology

CES was largely irrelevant this year

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Forced online by the pandemic and overshadowed by the attack on the Capitol, the 2021 edition of CES was mostly an afterthought as media's attention focused elsewhere.

Why it matters: The consumer electronics trade show is the cornerstone event for the Consumer Technology Association and Las Vegas has been the traditional early-January gathering place for the tech industry.

The FBI is tracing a digital trail to Capitol rioters

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Capitol rioters, eager to share proof of their efforts with other extremists online, have so far left a digital footprint of at least 140,000 images that is making it easier for federal law enforcement officials to capture and arrest them.

The big picture: Law enforcement's use of digital tracing isn't new, and has long been at the center of fierce battles over privacy and civil liberties. The Capitol siege is opening a fresh front in that debate.