UPDATE 1-Washington asks Wall St if it wants super long-term debt

Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:53pm EDT
 
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(Adds comment from Treasury official)

WASHINGTON, July 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury asked big Wall Street brokerages on Friday if Washington should start borrowing money over extremely long periods, a move that would potentially help the government capitalize on current low interest rates.

The Treasury released a quarterly questionnaire it circulates among large financial institutions that asked if it should "consider issuing a security with a maturity greater than 30 years."

The query does not amount to a plan to start borrowing under those terms, a Treasury official told journalists. The longest-term debt currently issued by America's federal government must be paid back after 30 years.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Treasury wanted to gauge interest in ultra long-term securities after Canada issued a 50-year bond in April.

"We're just curious about their perspective on the demand for these types of long-duration products that are out there," the official said. "We periodically consider new products."

The U.S. government has borrowed at exceptionally low interest rates since the country's deep recession from late 2007-2009. (Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Jan Paschal)