The Federal Reserve eventually could resort to selling off mortgage-backed securities on its balance sheet, according to the minutes of the central bank’s last strategy session in March. During the March meeting, Fed officials reviewed the results of the central bank’s previous efforts at shrinking its balance sheet between 2017 and 2019. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the Federal Reserve purchased billions of dollars’ worth of mortgage-backed securities as part of its broader efforts toward economic stimulus. The Fed has since stopped making those purchases and signaled plans to shrink its balance sheet of mortgage bonds, either through the securities maturing or prepayments. With mortgage rates increasing, the volume of refinances has shrunk considerably. In that context, some Fed officials suggested it “will be appropriate” to consider MBS sales in the future to rid the bank’s balance sheet of the securities. Any decision to that effect “would be announced well in advance,” the minutes noted.
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