Could the U.S. central bank go broke?Submitted by Bob-45 on Thu, 01/13/2011 - 16:02
WASHINGTON/CHICAGO | Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:30am EST
With the U.S. unemployment rate at 9.4 percent and only tentative signs that businesses are beefing up hiring, Fed officials, including Chairman Bernanke, see a duty to prevent a further deterioration of economic conditions -- and have signaled a readiness to use all the tools at their disposal.
Last November, as the economic recovery appeared to falter, the Fed said it would buy a new round of $600 billion in Treasury securities through June of this year. That's on top of the $1.7 trillion in Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities it had purchased in response to the financial crisis.
Still, the pitfalls of the Fed's approach are almost as numerous as the lending facilities it undertook to stem the crisis. Perhaps most daunting, the Fed's purchases of Treasury debt and mortgage-backed securities have effectively turned it into a mammoth investor -- a thoroughly undiversified one.