Highlights of steps the Federal Reserve has taken to try to aid the economy since the financial crisis erupted in 2008:
_ Nov. 3, 2010: The Fed announces it will buy $600 billion more in Treasury bonds gradually through the middle of 2011 to try to drive down interest rates on mortgages and other debt.
_Oct. 15, 2010: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke signals the Fed will buy more government bonds to boost economy, drive down unemployment and protect against deflation.
_Sept. 21, 2010: Fed signals that it will buy take additional action to strengthen the economy.
_Aug. 10, 2010: Fed decides to use a relatively modest amount of money generated from its massive mortgage portfolio to buy government debt, a move aimed at lowering rates on mortgages and other loans even more. Because the amount of debt-buying is small, the impact was to nudge down rates.
_ Nov. 3-4-2009: Fed trims its purchases of mortgage debt to $175 billion, from $200 billion because of limited supply, a technical issue.
_Sept. 22-23-2009: Fed slows mortgage-buying program to wrap up purchases by March 31, 2010, versus end of this year.
_ March 17-18, 2009: Fed in a bold step announces it will start buying up to $300 billion in government bonds over the next six months. It also decides to boost purchases of Fannie and Freddie mortgage-backed securities and debt. Fed says it will buy a total of $1.25 trillion of mortgage securities that year, an increase of $750 billion. It also says it will buy a total of $200 billion in mortgage debt, an increase of $100 billion. The actions are aimed at driving down rates on mortgages and other debt to lift the economy out of recession.
_ Jan. 27-28-2009: Fed signals it is prepared to buy longer-term Treasuries and expand other programs.
_ Dec. 15-16, 2008: Fed creates a target range for interest rates and cuts its key federal funds rate to between zero and 0.25 percent, a record low. The Fed vows to use all tools at its disposable to rescue the economy from the worst financial crisis and recession since the 1930s.
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