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This is another blunder by the Obama administration due to not understanding the monetary system.
We don’t need China or any other investor to ‘buy the debt’ yet we think we do and think they are in a position to ‘demand’ anything.
Issuing/selling CPI indexed govt debt is functionally external debt. With we owe ‘real’ wealth rather than strictly nominal wealth, and are subject to nearly the same risks as if we were borrowing real goods and services and had to pay them back in kind.
The lack of understanding of the monetary system is getting more costly by the day.
By Rob Copeland and Maya Jackson Randall
August 6 (WSJ) — The Treasury Department, responding to growing demand from China and other investors, will boost the sale of inflation-protected bonds that hold their value as consumer prices rise.
“We continue to hear growing demand for the product,” Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for Federal Financing Matt Rutherford said at a news conference announcing the plan on Wednesday.
The decision to increase sales of Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, or TIPS, is part of a broader effort to ensure there is enough demand for Treasury bonds to help the U.S. finance its swelling budget deficit. The Treasury already has issued a record amount of debt in the past year, and the department said Wednesday it will sell a record $75 billion next week.
In particular, Treasury officials need to ensure demand from China, the largest holder of U.S. government debt. Last week’s auctions of fixed-rate notes saw lukewarm demand from China and other investors. Chinese officials had indicated they want inflation-protected securities, especially as the U.S. economy starts to recover.
“Inflation is the No. 1 worry,” said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy for Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. “This is the government saying, ‘We will take that inflation risk away from you.'”
Even with an increase, TIPS would remain a fraction of the overall market for Treasurys. Of the $6.66 trillion of government bonds issued between Oct. 1, 2008 and June 30 of this year, just $44 billion were TIPS.
The Treasury could easily sell as much as $10 billion more, said Jeffrey Elswick, director of fixed income at Frost Investment Advisors LLC. But those extra sales mightn’t be such great news for existing owners of inflation-protected notes. If the Treasury continues to ramp up TIPS sales, it will “cheapen” the bonds of existing investors, said Don Martin, a financial planner with Mayflower Capital in Los Altos, Calif.
The value of the securities fell after the announcement, sending the gap between TIPS and comparable nominal notes to a two-month high. The gap ended at 1.93 percentage points, signaling that investors expect annualized inflation of 1.93% over the next decade.
The Treasury also said it may issue 30-year TIPS in place of 20-year TIPS.