Fed corporate-bond ETF purchases rise to $1.8B

Managers reduced their allocation to Treasuries ahead of the Fed’s latest meeting to 24.2%, the lowest since September.
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Fed purchases of ETFs invested in corporate debt totaled $1.8 billion in the first six days of the program, according to data published Thursday.

The ETF purchases, which are part of an emergency lending program aimed at backstopping corporate debt markets during the coronavirus pandemic, were revealed in the U.S. central bank’s weekly balance sheet update. The data also showed total assets held by the Fed rose to a record $7.04 trillion in the week through May 20.

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The Fed began buying ETFs through its so-called Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility on May 12. Under the program, it plans to make both outright purchases of corporate bonds as well as ETFs invested in the asset class, including potentially some sub-investment grade debt.

The weekly balance sheet data don’t disclose which ETFs the Fed bought, though the central bank has said it will disclose the names of borrowers participating in the program at least once a month.

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