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Treasury Finally Issues Some Long-Term Debt


  by SchiffGold  0   2

After nearly 10 months of issuing mostly short-term debt, the Treasury finally issued Notes in 2 of the last 3 months.

Note: Non-Marketable consists almost entirely of debt the government owes to itself (e.g., debt owed to Social Security or public retirement)

Figure: 1 Month Over Month change in Debt

In the first six months of 2024, the Treasury has added over $870B in new debt.

Figure: 2 Year Over Year change in Debt

So far in 2024, the Treasury has kept a fairly stable cash balance of $800B.

Figure: 3 Treasury Cash Balance

The chart below shows the true danger of the recent drop in the overall maturity of the debt. After topping out at 6.24 years in 2023, the average weighted maturity of the debt is 5.91 years. At the same time, the weighted average interest rate has increased from 1.32% to 3.02%.

Figure: 4 Weighted Averages

The Treasury is in a really tough spot as rising interest payments have absolutely exploded debt service costs. The annual run rate is now over $800B. It was around $300B as little as 3 years ago.

Figure: 5 Net Interest Expense

Using the current Fed dot plot and the rolling maturity of the debt produces the forecast below. Again, the Treasury left “debt affordability” in the rearview mirror in 2021. The Treasury is now absolutely hemorrhaging cash on debt service costs.

Figure: 6 Projected Net Interest Expense

Speaking of debt issuance and rollover, the chart below shows the forecasted debt maturing this year for 2-10-year maturities. Debt rolling over will be more than $400B higher than it was in 2023 despite the fact they are adding almost no new debt to the note balance.

Note “Net Change in Debt” is the difference between Debt Issued and Debt Matured. This means when positive it is part of Debt Issued and when negative it represents Debt Matured

Figure: 7 Treasury Note Rollover

Yield Curve

The Treasury could be paying lower rates today by issuing longer-term debt. The two issues are market saturation and debt lock-in. The market cannot absorb massive volumes of long dated Treasury debt. Yellen also does not want to lock in these elevated rates.

Figure: 8 Tracking Yield Curve Inversion

Historical Perspective

The chart and table below show how the debt and interest have changed over time.

Figure: 9 Total Debt Outstanding

Figure: 10 Debt Details over 20 years

Wrapping Up

Many Fed officials and market pundits have called the current fiscal situation “unsustainable”. This is a gross understatement. The current fiscal situation is an absolute train wreck with no way out. It has been called a ticking time bomb for decades. That bomb has gone off and it is worse than anyone could have imagined. Anyone sticking to the soft landing narrative and justifying this as a future problem is not doing simple math. Buckle up!

Data Source: https://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/mspd/mspd.htm

Data Updated: Monthly on fourth business day

Last Updated: Jun 2024

US Debt interactive charts and graphs can always be found on the Exploring Finance dashboard: https://exploringfinance.shinyapps.io/USDebt/

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