Improving Federal Deficit Could Lead to Reduced Availability of T-Notes, Treasury Says

The government, helped by a flood of revenue in recent years, said Wednesday it is considering scaling back its borrowing operations by possibly eliminating sale of three-year Treasury notes.

Anthony Ryan, Treasury's assistant secretary for financial markets, said that the government was considering various options with regard to the three-year note, ranging from changing the number of times it is auctioned each year to eliminating it altogether.

Ryan said in a statement that any announcement on changes to the three-year note would come in May and would take effect after the auction of three-year notes that month. Three-year notes are auctioned quarterly.

The change is being contemplated because the federal budget deficit, after hitting an all-time high in dollar terms of $413 billion, has been declining as the government has benefited from a rebounding economy. Those declines have reduced the government's need to borrow to finance government operations.

For 2006, the deficit fell to $247.7 billion, the lowest in four years.

The statement on the three-year notes came as the government provided details of how it will meet $141 billion in borrowing needs for the current quarter.

Those plans include auctions next week of $16 billion in three-year notes on Tuesday, $13 billion in 10-year notes on Wednesday and $9 billion in 30-year bonds the following day.

The rest of the borrowing needs will be met by other auctions through the period including the regular weekly auctions.