Not only is it the central bank of the United States, but the Federal
Reserve System looks as if it is a pretty good business to be in, as well.
The independent government agency on March 23 released its annual
audited financial statements for the year ended Dec. 31, 2017. The
report says that the organization’s operations resulted in earnings of
$80.7 billion, of which $80.6 billion was remitted to the U.S. Treasury.
The Fed also reported total operating expenses of $6.8 billion. The
part of that related to paper money represents such a minuscule
portion that its does not even have its own line in the report. Buried
in a list of seven categories of operating expenses is the category
“Board of Governors operating expenses and currency costs,” which
totaled $1.464 billion. A further breakdown of actual paper currency
costs shows that printing, transportation, and destruction of
mutilated currency was $674 million of that amount.
The value of Federal Reserve notes outstanding as of the end of the
year was $1,570,727,000,000, a slight increase over the
$1,462,939,000,000 from the previous year. The amount is apportioned
as follows: $1 note – $12.1 billion, $2 – $2.4 billion, $5 – $14.8
billion, $10 – $19.6 billion, $20 – $183.8 billion, $50 – $86.4
billion, $100 – $1,251.7 billion, and $500 to $10,000 notes – $0.3 billion.
Estimates of the amount of United States currency held abroad vary
between 30 percent and the more widely cited 65 percent. Most of this
is in $100 bills.
The consolidated report for the system itself along with individual
reports for each of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks may be read and
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