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U.S. Treasury holds debt auctions steady, plans cyber test

By Jason Lange

(This February 1 story was corrected to show Monique Rollins is a career civil servant rather than a political appointee from the Obama administration)

By Jason Lange

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury announced on Wednesday it will hold the size of coupon auctions steady in the upcoming quarter when it conducts a small "contingency auction" that an official said would test its ability to borrow following a cyber attack.

It was unclear how much of a role, if any, the White House had in crafting the Treasury's quarterly debt policy statement, which was the first since President Donald Trump took office last month.

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The U.S. Senate has yet to confirm Trump's Treasury secretary nominee, Steven Mnuchin. Several Treasury officials from the Obama administration have left, with their positions filled on a temporary basis by career bureaucrats or political appointees from the last administration.

The latest policy statement was made by Monique Rollins, Treasury's acting assistant secretary for financial markets and a career civil servant. A Treasury official told reporters separately that the new political leadership was aware of the debt policies announced on Wednesday.

Rollins said in the policy statement that Treasury plans to offer $62 billion in notes and bonds next week, raising approximately $17 billion in new cash.

The contingency test was part of regular auction infrastructure testing, Rollins said.

The Treasury official who briefed reporters separately said the test would gauge the government's ability to borrow money if a cyber attack disrupted normal auctions.

On future coupon sizes, Rollins said the department "will continue to monitor projected financing needs and make appropriate adjustments as necessary."

(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Paul Simao)

 
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