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Rates rise at Treasury bills auction

Associated Press / December 22, 2009

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WASHINGTON - Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills rose in yesterday’s auction to the highest levels since late October.

The Treasury Department auctioned $30 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 0.070 percent, up from 0.040 percent last week. An additional $31 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 0.170 percent, up from 0.160 percent last week.

The three-month rate was the highest since three-month bills averaged 0.075 percent on Oct. 26. The six-month rate was the highest since 0.185 percent, also on Oct. 26.

Even with the small increases, three- and six-month bills remain near historic lows.

The discount rates reflect that Treasury bills sell for less than face value. For a $10,000 bill, the three-month price was $9,998.23; a six-month bill sold for $9,991.41. That would equal an annualized rate of 0.071 percent for the three-month bills and 0.173 percent for the six-month bills.