Treasury reschedules bill auctions because of testing error

No major disruption expected

The U.S. Treasury Department postponed until tomorrow sales of three- and six-month bills originally scheduled for today, citing a problem that occurred during testing of its auction system.

“The auction closure has been rescheduled due to an error that occurred during a test of Treasury’s auction system,” the department’s Bureau of the Public Debt said in a statement in Washington. “The settlement date and all other aspects of both of these auctions remain unchanged.”

The Treasury had planned to sell $32 billion in three-month bills and $27 billion in six-month debt today. The delay, the first for the two maturities in at least 15 years of record- keeping on the department’s website, was the latest disruption as U.S. regulators press for improvements in the infrastructure of American equity and derivatives markets.

Treasury spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine declined to comment beyond the Bureau of the Public Debt’s announcement of the error earlier today.

“This shouldn’t be a major disruption,” said Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist in New York at Jefferies LLC, one of 21 primary dealers that trade with the Federal Reserve. “The auctions are still expected to settle on time” and “so presuming they will be able to have it rocking and rolling by tomorrow, it’s just not a big deal.”

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was prevented from participating in the Sept. 9 auction of three-month U.S. Treasuries because of a malfunction with the government’s online order system, according to a person briefed on the event, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private.

Following Nasdaq OMX Group Inc.’s three-hour trading halt on Aug. 22, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Jo White told U.S. stock markets on Sept. 12 to collaborate on bolstering technology systems. On Sept. 9, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission requested industry input on safeguarding markets.

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