Treasury Tsunami on the Horizon


Three months ago, in its then latest estimate of Marketable Borrowings published on May 4, the US Treasury shocked markets when it unveiled that in the April-June quarter it would borrow a humongous $2.999 trillion, exponentially higher than what it had expected to borrow during the quarter in its previous estimate in February when it forecast a $56 billion decline in debt.


And while the projected debt number stunned the market, it barely registered on the price or yield of US Treasurys for the simple reason that just weeks earlier the Fed announced it would monetize all gross debt issuance for the US when it unveiled Unlimited QE, something it has been doing since.

This massive surge in debt issuance would also result in a far higher Treasury cash balance which would be used to pre-fund various fiscal stimulus programs, and as the chart below shows, that's precisely what happened with the Treasury cash balance exploding from $400BN at the end of March to an record high just above $1.7 trillion currently, an amount that is just waiting to be spent as soon as Congress gives the green light. In retrospect the cash surge was too much: in fact, more than double what the Treasury had expected on May 4. While the Treasury had forecast a $3 trillion increase in marketable borrowing for the quarter ending June 30, it also expected the cash balance to grow to $800 billion on that same date.

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