The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has exceeded $8 trillion for the first time, following extensive measures the U.S. central bank took last year to contain the economic damage from the coronavirus. 

The Fed’s balance sheet has nearly doubled since March 2020, when the pandemic erupted in the U.S, based on weekly statistics released Thursday by the U.S. central bank.

The central bank announced last week it would start selling the corporate bonds and exchange-traded bonds it bought during the pandemic through an emergency-lending vehicle. 

Related: The Empire Strikes Back: Inflation Hits 5% While Elizabeth Warren Goes After Bitcoin

But the Fed’s monetary-policy committee has pledged to keep buying U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage bonds at a pace of about $120 billion a month “until substantial further progress has been made toward the committee’s maximum employment and price stability goals.”

Cryptocurrency investors have been monitoring if and when the Fed will start tapering its easy money policy. 

A popular narrative in the crypto market is to view bitcoin as a hedge against inflation, especially in the face of the trillions of dollars of monetary stimulus pumped into financial markets over the past year.

Prior to the financial crisis of 2008, the Federal Reserve balance sheet stood at less than $1 trillion.

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