The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it will begin winding down a program that purchased tens of billions of dollars of corporate assets to shore up the economy during the pandemic.
In a statement, the central bank said the facility was crucial to businesses during the depth of the recession. But as the economy rapidly recovers, the time to start winding it down has begun.
“Shock and awe is no longer needed for the time being,” said Nicholas Elfner, co-head, of research at Breckinridge Capital Advisors. “The Fed’s decision to begin winding down its portfolio of corporate bonds is an important signal of confidence in the investment-grade corporate market that their presence is no longer needed at this time.”
The program “proved vital in restoring market functioning last year, supporting the availability of credit for large employers, and bolstering employment through the Covid-19 pandemic,” the Fed said.
The Fed currently holds $13.7 billion worth of corporate assets, including more than $5 billion of corporate bonds and another $8.5 billion worth of exchange-traded funds.