The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Recent improvements in fiscal positions in advanced countries have sharply curtailed the issuance of government securities and created the possibility that government securities could disappear in some countries. The possibility that this might occur in the United States has attracted the most attention, in large part because of the international role of the U.S. dollar and the widespread perception that U.S. treasury securities have the lowest total financial risk (the combination of credit, market, and liquidity risks) among U.S. dollar assets. This paper analyzes the unique features of government securities and links them to the important roles that government securities, in particular U.S. treasury securities, have come to play in national and international financial markets. The paper then identifies and examines financial market-oriented public policy questions raised by the shrinking supply of U.S. treasuries.