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Treasury's toxic asset funds gain 27 percent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury's toxic asset funds have gained 27 percent since they were created to help revive the mortgage-backed securities market, according to data expected to be released later on Monday.

As part of the government's deeply unpopular $700 billion bailout program, the funds were set up to remove illiquid securities from banks by matching private capital with taxpayer money and Treasury loans via funds run by private investment managers.

Although furor over the bailout helped Republicans win control of the House of Representatives in the recent election, the government has been recouping taxpayers' money.

The eight toxic asset funds, run by asset managers such as BlackRock Inc, Invesco Ltd and Marathon Asset Management, are all profitable.

Since the funds were established in 2009, they have used about $5.2 billion of Treasury's equity investment to buy toxic assets. As of the end of 2010, the funds have gained $1.1 billion to about $6.3 billion, according to the data.

Including some $300 million in equity distributions, the Treasury's investment increased by 27 percent or $1.4 billion, according to the data.

The Treasury Department had initially proposed buying up to $1 trillion in illiquid mortgage-related securities to help clean up banks' balance sheets. But the program was scaled down considerably as banks proved they could attract private capital in both the equity and debt markets without first selling off illiquid securities.

As of December 31, the funds had about $29.4 billion of purchasing power and had drawn down about 70 percent of the total amount, according to the data.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the ultimate cost of the bank bailout, or the Troubled Asset Relief Program, will be as low as $25 billion.

(Reporting by Rachelle Younglai; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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