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January 31, 2014

Why Uncle Sam needs some novel sweeteners for its bonds

“This week the US government delivered two pieces of noteworthy news. One caused a splash: on Wednesday the Federal Reserve announced another $10bn cut in its monthly bond purchases, the second time it has tapered. Cue Twitter alerts and headlines.”

“But the real drama came a few hours earlier, when Uncle Sam successfully sold $15bn of two-year floating-rate notes to investors in the first innovation in federal debt for 16 years. The sale of these bonds that reset according to market rates – thus avoiding any losses if rates rise – attracted a startling $85bn of orders; not that you would have noticed from following the media, whether social or mainstream.”

“On one level this disparity is no surprise. Government bond auctions tend to be technical affairs. The Fed’s taper, by contrast, is replete with drama for global investors, particularly since it could trigger more volatility for emerging markets.”

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Read full Financial Times article here.

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