6-month T-bills fall to a record low

Associated Press / July 19, 2011

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WASHINGTON - Interest rates on short-term Treasury securities dropped in yesterday’s auction, with rates on six-month bills falling to a record low.

The Treasury Department auctioned $27 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 0.020 percent, down from 0.030 percent last week. Another $24 billion was auctioned in six-month bills at a discount rate of 0.060 percent, down from 0.065 percent.

The three-month rate was lowest since those bills averaged 0.005 percent in December 2008. The six-month rate is the lowest on record.

The low rates show investors still see US Treasury debt as safe, even as the White House and Congress are locked in negotiations over raising the borrowing limit. If the talks fail and the $14.3 trillion limit is not raised by Aug. 2, the Treasury says the government will default on its obligations.

The discount rates reflect that the bills sell for less than face value. For a $10,000 bill, the three-month price was $9,999.49, while a six-month bill sold for $9,996.97. That would equal an annualized rate of 0.020 percent for the three-month bills and 0.061 percent for the six-month bills.

Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills was 0.16 percent last week, down from 0.19 percent.