Sat | Nov 27, 2021

US Treasury to borrow US$463b this quarter

Published:Wednesday | May 5, 2021 | 12:18 AM

The United States Treasury Department says it expects to borrow US$463 billion in the current April-June quarter and US$2.28 trillion for the full budget year, as the government finances continued pandemic relief measures.

Treasury officials announced Monday that the US$463 billion in borrowing for the current quarter represented a significant jump from a borrowing estimate for the current quarter of US$95 billion made in February.

The big increase of US$368 billion was attributed to passage of a US$1.9 trillion support measure that President Joe Biden pushed through Congress in March which provided another round of relief payments totalling US$1,400 per individual, plus other support including an extension of emergency unemployment benefits.

The April-June borrowing estimate follows actual Treasury borrowing of US$401 billion in the January-March quarter and US$597 billion in borrowing done in the October-December period, the first quarter in the government’s budget year.

The Treasury on Monday projected a borrowing need of US$821 billion for the July-September quarter, the final quarter of this 2021 budget year.

That would bring total borrowing this year to US$2.28 trillion, a significant amount but down from borrowing last year which totalled US$4.01 trillion.

That borrowing was needed to support an all-time high budget deficit of US$3.1 trillion, a figure that reflected trillions of dollars in government support provided to blunt the impact of the adverse effects of the pandemic, which forced widespread closures and the loss of millions of jobs.

Private economists are forecasting this year’s deficit could hit US$3.3 trillion or more.

Treasury said its estimate of borrowing needs assumes that the government will have a balance of cash on hand of US$450 billion when the current suspension of the government’s borrowing limit expires on July 31.

Once the debt suspension expires, the government will have to employ emergency moves to keep borrowing money until Congress passes an increase in the debt limit, something that in the past has promoted partisan clashes over the government tax and spending policies.