Assets on the Federal Reserve's balance sheet rose marginally to $7.169 trillion as of Wednesday, up from $7.165 trillion last week. The assets have been hovering close to $7 trillion for the past month, but are over $3 trillion larger than they were one year ago. Former New York Fed President William Dudley said the Fed's balance sheet might hit $10 trillion before the recession is over. On Wednesday, the Fed announced it would continue purchases of Treasurys and agency mortgage-backed securities "at least at the current pace" of about $80 billion per month for Treasurys and about $40 billion per month for MBS. The Fed says the purchases are aimed at supporting market functioning. Economists also think the asset purchases are an open-ended form of quantitative easing, aimed at helping the economy while the Fed's interest-rate target is close to zero. The Fed also has set up nine lending facilities to help the financial system, municipalities and companies.