(Reuters) - The U.S. government may ask investors to pay for the privilege and safety of holding short-term debt issued by its Treasury Department.
In response to clamor from investors, the Treasury said on Wednesday it was looking closely at allowing negative-yield auctions. This would mean bidders who want the security of U.S. government debt in the face of global insecurity, might have to pay a premium for it.
Doing so would allow the U.S. government to benefit from something that is already occurring on the secondary market, where investors have accepted negative yields in recent months to protect their cash from financial strains.
Remarkably, Wall Street is asking to be able to pay a premium for U.S. debt even after the United States lost its prized AAA rating last year and as the government heads for a fourth straight year with $1 trillion-plus budget deficit.
"It is the unanimous view of the committee that Treasury should modify auction regulations to permit negative rate bidding and awards in Treasury bill auctions as soon as feasible," according to minutes of the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee, which includes 21 financial institutions that make markets for U.S. government securities.Read the rest at Reuters
Treasury may let investors pay to lend to U.S. government
by Glenn Somerville and Mark Felsenthal