A key objective of recent Federal Reserve policy actions is to address the deterioration in financial market functioning. The U.S. Treasury securities market, in particular, has been the subject of Fed and market participants’ concerns, and the venue for some of the Fed’s initiatives. In this post, we evaluate a basic metric of market functioning for Treasury securities—market liquidity—through the first month of the Fed’s extraordinary actions. Our particular focus is on how liquidity in March 2020 compares to that observed over the past fifteen years, a period that includes the 2007-09 financial crisis.
Following an earlier joint FEDS Note and Liberty Street Economics blog post that examined aggregate trading volume in the Treasury cash market across venues, this post looks at volume across security type, seasoned-ness (time since issuance), and maturity. The analysis, which again relies on transactions recorded in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE), sheds light on perceptions that some Treasury securities—in particular those that are off-the-run—may not trade very actively. We confirm that most trading volume is made up of on-the-run securities, especially in venues where the market has become more automated. However, we also find that daily average volume in off-the-run securities is still a meaningful $157 billion (27 percent of overall volume), and accounts for a large share (41 percent) of trading in the dealer-to-client venue of the market.
As noted in our previous post, thirty years has marked the outer boundary of Treasury bond maturities since “regular and predictable” issuance of coupon-bearing Treasury debt became the norm in the 1970s. However, the Treasury issued bonds with maturities of greater than thirty years on seven occasions in the 1950s and 1960s, in an effort to lengthen the maturity structure of the debt. While our earlier post described the efforts of Treasury debt managers to lengthen debt maturities between 1953 and 1957, this post examines the period from 1957 to 1965.
Ever since “regular and predictable” issuance of coupon-bearing Treasury debt became the norm in the 1970s, thirty years has marked the outer boundary of Treasury bond maturities. However, longer-term bonds were not unknown in earlier years. Seven such bonds, including one 40-year bond, were issued between 1955 and 1963. The common thread that binds the seven bonds together was the interest of Treasury debt managers in lengthening the maturity structure of the debt. This post describes the efforts to lengthen debt maturities between 1953 and 1957. A subsequent post will examine the period from 1957 to 1965.