Gov’t revives ultra short-term IOUs

By Chino S. Leyco

The Bureau of the Treasury has revived its ultra short-term IOUs as the government expects uncertainty would remain in the local financial markets in April owing to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) contagion.

National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon said yesterday that the national government will offer rare 35-day Treasury bills (T-Bills) twice next month with a total vol¬ume of ₱30 billion, or ₱15 billion each on April 1 and 22.

De Leon said that this was not the first time the Treasury will sell ultra short-term securities to the investing public.

“Cash remains king as markets continue to remain watchful of impact of measures to battle COVID-19,” De Leon told reporters in a mobile phone message. “The situation is still fluid and appetite continues to be on short term tenors.”

She added that their offering will fill the space left by the sus¬pension of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) term deposit auction facility (TDF).

“The BSP suspended TDF, thus the 35 day bill provides outlet for investors while at the same time provides funds for our short-term requirements,” de Leon said.

Aside from the 35-day offering, de Leon also said that the Treasury held the release of the govern-ment’s second-quarter domestic borrowing schedule amid market volatility.

“We will monitor developments and assess results of our auctions in April to determine if full issuance program for second-quarter can be released,” the treasury head said.

Based on a March 25 memorandum, the Treasury announced that the national government plans to borrow ₱190 billion in short-and long-dated debts in April.

During the month, the government will borrow ₱130 billion through T-bills, while it is looking to raise ₱60 billion via the sale of Treasury bonds (T-bonds).

On top of the 35-day T-Bills, the Treasury kept its regular three-month, six-month and one-year IOUs at ₱20 per offer, broken down into ₱5 billion each for 364-day and 182-day papers as well as P10 billion for the 91-day securities.

Auction for the short-term papers will be held on April 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29.

T-bonds, meanwhile, will be offered every other week at ₱30 billion per offer.

The one-year papers will be auctioned off on April 15 and on April 30 for the two-year instruments.

Last Wednesday, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that the Duterte administration will boost its borrowings this year as the government expects lower revenues due to slower economic activities during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.