Thursday, October 16, 2008
A month or so ago, when asked by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass) whether he had the $85 billion necessary to rescue AIG, Fed Chief Ben Bernanke reportedly replied, "I have $800 billion". According to a recent report and as shown quite graphically below, he might need a lot more than that in short order.
According to a report by Merrill Lynch's David Rosenberg (hat tip JN), the Fed's balance sheet might reach as high as $3 trillion by the end of the year.
Given the announced increase in the TAF program, unlimited swap lines and modest growth in other segments of the asset side of the Fed’s balance sheet we could see it hit $3 trillion over year end. This would represent an 84% increase on top of the growth in assets we have already seen in 2008.He goes on to talk about "excess reserves" and their relationship to assets held by the central bank but, to be honest, my brain just kind of shut down when I saw that chart.