Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Treasury needs record $361B April-June borrowing


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department said Monday it will need to borrow $361 billion in the current April-June quarter, a record amount for that period.

It's the third straight quarter the government's borrowing needs have set records for those periods.

Treasury also estimated it will need to borrow $515 billion in the July-September quarter, down slightly from the $530 billion borrowed during the year-ago period. The all-time high of $569 billion was set in the October-December period.

The huge borrowing needs reflect the soaring costs of the $700 billion financial rescue program and the recession, which is nearing a record as the longest in the post World War II period.

The slump has cut sharply into tax revenue and boosted government spending for benefit programs such as unemployment insurance and food stamps.

The administration is projecting the federal deficit for the entire budget year ending Sept. 30, will total a record $1.75 trillion. A deficit at that level would nearly quadruple the previous record of $454.8 billion set last year.

To cover the government's heavy borrowing needs, Congress in February boosted the limit for the national debt to $12.1 trillion as part of the legislation that enacted President Barack Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus program. The national debt now stands at $11.1 trillion.

The government released its estimate of borrowing needs for the quarter before a news conference Wednesday when officials are scheduled provide exact details of how much debt the government plans to sell next week and in what maturity levels as part of Treasury's regular quarterly debt auctions.

The $361 billion estimate for borrowing this quarter compared with borrowing needs of just $13 billion in the year-ago period. Normally the government's borrowing needs shrink sharply in the April-June quarter because of all the tax revenue being collected.

The government announced in February that it was bringing back the seven-year note and doubling the number of 30-year bond auctions it would hold each year to help finance the surging borrowing needs.

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