US Plans $103 Billion Debt Sale, Says Issuance to Keep Rising

The US Treasury boosted the size of its quarterly sale of longer-term debt for the first time in over 2 1/2 years, testing dealers’ appetites amid an increase in government borrowing needs so alarming it spurred Fitch Ratings to cut the US sovereign rating from AAA.

The Treasury said it will sell $103 billion of longer-term securities at its so-called quarterly refunding auctions next week, which span 3-, 10- and 30-year Treasuries. That’s up from a $96 billion total last time, and slightly larger than most dealers had expected.

The bump in issuance showcases the rising borrowing needs that contributed to Tuesday’s decision by Fitch Ratings to lower the sovereign US credit rating by one level, to AA+. Fitch said it expects US finances to deteriorate over the next three years. That’s from an already enlarged position — the Treasury is penciling in some $1 trillion worth of issuance in all this quarter.

Ahead of the announcement, dealers had also laid out expectations for stepped-up issuance of other securities, and for the boosts in sales to stretch into 2024, which the Treasury confirmed on Wednesday.

“While these changes will make substantial progress towards aligning auction sizes with intermediate- to long-term borrowing needs, further gradual increases will likely be necessary in future quarters,” the department said in a statement.

Part of that deterioration is thanks to the higher interest the Treasury now pays on its debt. The Treasury has also said its tax receipts have been weaker than expected. And in the meantime, the Federal Reserve’s continuing runoff of its holdings of Treasuries, of up to $60 billion a month, requires the government to sell more to the public.

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