Dr. Ed’s
Economic
Indicators

3-MONTH TREASURY BILL

Release Date: Daily Readings – Published Weekly
Release Coverage: Monthly Average
Released By: Department of the Treasury
Official Release (weekly): http://www.treas.gov/offices/domestic-finance/debt-management/interest-rate/yield.shtml

The 3-Month Treasury bill is a short-term U.S. government security with a constant maturity period of 3 months. The Federal Reserve calculates yields for "constant maturities" by interpolating points along a treasury curve comprised of actively traded issues of term (e.g., 1 month) maturities. As stated by the Department of the Treasury:

"Treasury bills, or T-bills, are sold in terms ranging from a few days to 52 weeks. Bills are typically sold at a discount from the par amount (also called face value). For instance, you might pay $990 for a $1,000 bill. When the bill matures, you would be paid $1,000. The difference between the purchase price and face value is interest. It is possible for a bill auction to result in a price equal to par, which means that Treasury will issue and redeem the securities at par value."

WHAT DR. ED SAYS:

The 3-month Treasury bill will represent immediate sentiments in consumer-saving behavior. Also, sharp drops in yields of short-term savings vehicles, such as a 3-month Treasury, may indicate a flight to quality as volatile markets are less appealing. In 2008 and 2009, drops in yields corresponded to the presumed instability in the banking system and volatility in the stock market. Inflation has an affect on short-term bonds, which diminishes their value, making it important to monitor inflation and this indicator together.

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