1. What’s the big deal?
2. So what could go wrong?
3. Has this ever been done before?
4. If it’s so risky, why is the Fed even considering it?
5. Can the Fed minimize the fallout?
6. How long will all this take?
7. What’s in the Fed’s portfolio, anyway?
The central bank owns about $2.5 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities. That’s equivalent to about 15 percent of the government debt held by the public. Its holdings of mortgage-backed securities total about $1.8 trillion, representing a quarter of that market. The rest of its $4.5 trillion portfolio consists of such assets as swaps with foreign central banks, overnight loans of securities and foreign currencies.