Rates mixed at weekly US Treasury auction with 6-month bills rising to highest in 6 years

WASHINGTON – Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills were mixed in Tuesday’s auction with rates on three-month bills declining and rates on six-month bills rising to their highest level in six years.

The Treasury Department auctioned $22 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 0.075 per cent, down from 0.095 per cent last week. Another $22 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 0.275 per cent, up from 0.270 per cent last week.

The three-month rate was the lowest since three-month bills averaged 0.050 per cent two weeks ago on Aug. 24. The six-month rate was the highest since those bills averaged 0.285 per cent on Aug. 10, 2009.

The discount rates reflect that the bills sell for less than face value. For a $10,000 bill, the three-month price was $9,998.10, while a six-month bill sold for $9,986.10. That would equal an annualized rate of 0.076 per cent for the three-month bills and 0.280 per cent for the six-month bills.

The weekly auction of three-month and six-month bills, normally held on Monday, was held on Tuesday this week because of the Labor Day holiday.

Separately, the Federal Reserve said Tuesday that the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable rate mortgages, edged up to 0.37 per cent last week from 0.36 per cent the previous week.