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Rates rise at weekly US Treasury auction; 6-month bills up to highest level since July

WASHINGTON – Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills rose in Monday’s auction with rates on six-month bills reaching their highest level since July.

The Treasury Department auctioned $24 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 0.020 per cent, up from 0.010 per cent last week. Another $30 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 0.050 per cent, up from 0.040 per cent last week.

The three-month rate was the highest since the bills averaged 0.025 per cent on Sept. 2. The six-month rate was the highest since they averaged 0.055 per cent on July 28.

Treasury bond prices rise when yields fall. Treasury yields have dropped sharply in recent weeks on expectations that the world’s economic sluggishness could force the Federal Reserve to delay interest rate increases.

The discount rates reflect that the bills sell for less than face value. For a $10,000 bill, the three-month price was $9,999.49, while a six-month bill sold for $9,997.47. That would equal an annualized rate of 0.020 per cent for the three-month bills and 0.051 per cent for the six-month bills.

Separately, the Federal Reserve said Monday that the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable rate mortgages, was unchanged from the previous week at 0.10 per cent.