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Treasury to borrow $776 billion in the final three months of the year

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen delivers remarks at the Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States conference at the Treasury Department in Washington, DC, on September 14, 2023. 

Olivier Douliery | Afp | Getty Images

The U.S. government’s borrowing needs will decline slightly in the final three months of 2023 from the prior quarter, a potentially important development during a turbulent time for the global bond market.

In a closely watched announcement Monday afternoon, the Treasury Department said it will be looking to borrow $776 billion, which is below the $1.01 trillion in privately held marketable debt the department borrowed in the July-through-September period.

The borrowing level appeared to be somewhat below Wall Street expectations — strategists at JPMorgan Chase said they expected the announcement to be around $800 billion.

When the Treasury announced in July its heightened borrowing needs, it set off a frenzy in the bond market that saw yields hit their highest levels since 2007, the early days of what would become a global financial crisis.

Markets have been concerned about the impact of higher yields, and the government’s borrowing need, as well as restrictive Federal Reserve policy, have exacerbated those concerns.

Officials attributed the lower borrowing needs to higher receipts, which were offset somewhat by greater expenses.

Treasury said it expects to borrow $816 billion in the January-through-March period, which is the government’s fiscal second quarter. That number appeared above Wall Street estimates, as JPMorgan said it was looking for $698 billion.

The department said it expects to maintain a $750 billion cash balance for both quarters.

Markets next will be watching a Wednesday refunding announcement from Treasury, which will detail the size of auctions, the duration being issued and their timing.

The Monday announcement comes 10 days after the government said the fiscal 2023 budget deficit would be about $1.7 trillion. That was an increase of some $320 billion from the prior year.

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