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Expand chart
Data: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Fed's balance sheet rose to $7.1 trillion as of this week, having now committed a record $2.2 trillion in quantitative easing purchases since chair Jerome Powell's pledge to buy unlimited Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities in March.

Watch this space: The massive increase comes despite the fact that many of the central bank's special purpose vehicles set up to buy corporate bonds and loan to businesses are not yet operational.

Details: The Fed's Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility has so far purchased only investment grade bond ETFs, with holdings rising to $3 billion this week from $1.8 billion last week.

  • The Commercial Paper Funding Facility usage rose to $4.3 billion from $4 billion.

What's next: Goldman Sachs analysts expect the Fed to soon move to "a steady pace" of roughly $80 billion to $120 billion of Treasuries and $25 billion to $35 billion of MBS purchases per month, as well as instituting yield curve control for shorted-dated Treasuries.

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

Editor’s note: This piece was corrected to show that the Fed bought $3 billion in the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility (not $35 billion) and that Commercial Paper Funding Facility usage rose to $4.3 billion (not $13 billion). The $35 billion number earlier quoted from TD Securities reflects the Treasury Department’s investment in the facilities, rather than the Fed's purchases, according to a Federal Reserve spokesman.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Sep 1, 2020 - Economy & Business

The bond market's tug of war

Investors bought the dip in U.S. Treasuries on Monday following a significant move higher in yields on longer-dated maturities after the Fed's Jackson Hole symposium last week. Investors especially bought the 30-year bond, which saw yields rise to the highest level since mid-June on Friday.

Why it matters: A tug of war is developing in the bond market as inflation expectations are rising thanks to unprecedented central bank and government stimulus measures globally.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Sep 1, 2020 - Economy & Business

TPG seeks $8 billion sale for cable conglomerate Astound

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

TPG is seeking a buyer for Astound, a U.S. cable conglomerate that includes RCN, Grande Communications, and Wave Broadband, per Reuters. A deal could fetch more than $8 billion.

Why it matters: The move reflects how many cable operators are thriving in spite of cord-cutters, as work-from-home and streaming video consumers demand faster broadband.

1 hour ago - Science

COVID time warp

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic seems like a lifetime ago to some, and just yesterday to others. Scientists are beginning to unpack the way people processed the passage of time amidst the stress, uncertainty and isolation of the 1 year, 8 months and 21 days since WHO declared a pandemic.

Why it matters: The pandemic's global effects on how people experience time could provide new insights into the brain's ability to perceive and predict time — a fundamental feature of life.