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T-bill rates inch up ahead of inflation, Fed meet

THE GOVERNMENT made a full award of the Treasury bills (T-bills) it offered on Tuesday even as rates inched up ahead of the release of October inflation data and the US central bank’s policy review.

The Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) raised P15 billion as planned via the T-bills it auctioned off on Tuesday as the offer attracted P41.78 billion in bids, making it almost 2.8 times oversubscribed.

The demand seen on Tuesday was also bigger than the P34.721 billion in tenders recorded the previous week.

Broken down, the BTr borrowed P5 billion as planned via the 91-day T-bills from P13.08 billion in tenders. The three-month debt paper fetched an average rate of 1.13%, 1.1 basis points (bps) higher than the 1.119% quoted in the previous week’s auction.

It also raised the programmed P5 billion from the 182-day T-bills as the tenor attracted bids worth P14.94 billion. The average yield on the six-month debt stood at 1.395%, up 0.8 bp from 1.387% last week.

Lastly, the Treasury made a full P5-billion award of the 364-day securities it offered on Tuesday as demand reached P13.76 billion. The one-year paper fetched an average rate of 1.613%, up by 0.7 bp from 1.606% previously.

At the secondary market on Tuesday, the three-month, six-month and one-year T-bills were quoted at 1.2131%, 1.4488% and 1.6228%, respectively, before the auction, based on the PHL Bloomberg Valuation Service reference rates published on the Philippine Dealing System’s website.

National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon said in a Viber message to reporters after the auction that average rates moved up by around 1 bp or less as investors were waiting for the release of October inflation data as well as the US Federal Reserve’s policy review this week.

A bond trader said in a Viber message that the uptick in T-bill rates seen on Tuesday was not significant but shows the market’s desire for higher yields ahead of Friday’s consumer price index (CPI) release.

Inflation likely quickened in October due to a continued rise in pump prices and a spike in food costs due to a severe tropical storm, analysts said.

A BusinessWorld poll of 21 analysts yielded a median estimate of 4.9% for the October CPI, which matches the midpoint of the 4.5-5.3% forecast given by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

If realized, headline inflation will exceed the 2-4% BSP annual target range for the third straight month. This will also be faster than the 4.8% seen in September and the 2.5% a year earlier.

The Philippine Statistics Authority will release October inflation data on Nov. 5.

Inflation has breached the BSP target since January, except in July when it was at 4%.

Meanwhile, the Fed is holding a policy meeting on Nov. 2-3, where it is expected to approve plans to scale back its $120-billion monthly bond-buying program.

On Wednesday, the Treasury will offer P35 billion in reissued five-year Treasury bonds (T-bonds) with a remaining life of four years and five months.

The Treasury plans to raise P200 billion from the domestic market in November: P60 billion via weekly T-bill auctions and P140 billion from weekly offers of T-bonds.

The government wants to borrow P3 trillion from local and external sources this year to help fund a budget deficit seen to hit 9.3% of gross domestic product. — Jenina P. Ibanez

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