Freddie Mac posted a smaller loss last year than in 2008 and said for the third consecutive quarter that it won't need to ask the government for additional bailout funds. But the company says conditions could worsen as foreclosures pick up later this year.

The mortgage company posted a net loss of $6.5bn in the fourth quarter of 2009 and $21.6bn for the full year, excluding dividends paid to the government. While those losses remain daunting, they are an improvement from 2008, when the company posted a loss of $23.9bn in the year ago fourth quarter and $50.1bn for all of 2008.

The improvement came amid early signs of stabilisation in the housing market. The company estimated that home prices fell 0.8% last year, versus an 11.7% decline in 2008

Wall Street Journal