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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee Recommends Reduced Treasury Bill Issuance

On February 3 the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association sent a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury. The bulk of the letter was about figuring out a way to tighten monetary policy without raising rates. The letter discusses the continued expansion of the economy, though at a slower pace. The letter also cites a steep decline in energy prices as being a catalyst for consumer spending growth which was the fastest it's been since 2006.  Here's an interesting quote from the letter pertaining to labor the fed funds rate:

In recent statements, the FOMC has indicated that it can be patient before raising the federal funds rate. After its late –January meeting, the FOMC upgraded its assessment of domestic economic conditions, but also noted that international developments will be factored in when considering the date of the first interest rate increase. In public speeches, some FOMC members have signaled that mid-year 2015 could be a reasonable time for such a move, should growth and inflation dynamics evolve favorably over the coming months. But a large degree of uncertainty remains on this front, while commentators and market pricing increasingly point toward a later date.

The group also mentions the looming debt ceiling debate:

Another complicating factor is the debt ceiling requirement. On March 15, the debt ceiling will automatically be increased to include the amount of borrowing that occurred during the suspension period (February 8, 2014 to March 15, 2015) but Treasury is expected to reduce its the cash balance essentially to the level it was on February 8, 2014, approximately $30 billion.
As the March 15 date approaches, the Committee recommends that the Treasury absorb excess cash above the required amount through reduced Treasury bill issuance.

It's the last sentence that's most interesting. Reduced Treasury bill issuance is akin to raising rates. All signs point to raised rates in 2015. To read the letter in its entirety, click here.