US Treasury Secretary Steve “The Munchkin” Mnuchin said on Bloomberg News today that Treasury is still considering issuing ultra-long sovereign debt. This comes on the news that Argentina is issuing a 100 year sovereign bond that is in hot demand.
Reuters — Argentina sold $2.75 billion of a hotly demanded 100-year bond in U.S. dollars on Monday, just over a year after emerging from its latest default, according to the government.
The South American country received $9.75 billion in orders for the bond, as investors eyed a yield of 7.9 percent in an otherwise low yielding fixed income market where pension funds need to lock in long-term returns.
Thanks to a stronger-than-expected peso currency, the government has increased its overall 2017 foreign currency bond issuance target to $12.75 billion from its previous plan of issuing $10 billion in international bonds, Finance Minister Luis Caputo told reporters in Buenos Aires.
Argentina is going to the international capital markets to help finance a fiscal deficit of 4.2 percent of gross domestic product this year. Caputo said Argentina has $2.6 billion in bonds left to be issued this year. The new paper could be denominated in euros, yen or Swiss francs.
The new bond had a coupon of 7.125 percent, the finance ministry said in a statement that hailed success of the sale as evidence that Argentina had regained “credibility and confidence.”
Still, the move came as a surprise given Argentina only last year ended a decade-long dispute with creditors over its 2002 default and residents tend to frown upon accumulating debt in dollars.
Mnuchin is considering joining the “High duration” crowd of nations issuing sovereign debt with maturities longer than 30 years. Once Argentina’s 100 year bond starts to trade, their sovereign yield curve will be the longest after Austria’s 70 year sovereign bond.
Argentina is now a member of “The High Duration” Club. Based on preliminary estimates, the modified duration (as measure of interest rate risk) is 14.
Here is Fed Reserve Chair Janet Yellen discussing ultra long bond issuance with members of Mnuchin’s Treasury team.