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Since the financial crisis, increasingly, U.S. Treasury issuance has occurred at the short end of the interest rate curve. Unlike many mortgage borrowers who refinanced their mortgage debt to lock in lower long term interest rates, the government has issued a majority of new debt at the short end of the interest rate curve.

From The Blog of HORAN Capital Advisors

The consequence of this short term structure is the negative impact higher interest rates will have on the U.S. budget. As the below chart shows, 6% of the government's budget goes toward paying interest on the U.S. debt outstanding.

From The Blog of HORAN Capital Advisors


Source: J.P. Morgan's Guide to the Market

With the outstanding debt now totaling over $17 trillion, a one percentage point rise in interest rates equates to an additional $170 billion in interest payments on the outstanding debt or 75% increase.

From The Blog of HORAN Capital Advisors


In just the last year and a half, the 5-year yield has increased over one full percentage point. And as the below chart indicates, it is not inconceivable that this rate can move much higher over time. In a lead up to the financial crisis, the 5-year yield was over 5% and just recently broke resistance.

From The Blog of HORAN Capital Advisors


Aside from the fact the U.S. government's debt continues to grow unabated and will certainly need to be addressed sooner versus later, the issue to play out near term is in Washington, DC. It is projected the U.S. government will reach its debt ceiling limit in early February. Ultimately, Congress will certainly increase the debt limit as they always do; however, the negative news flow might impact the equity markets in the short term.

Source: The Consequences Of The Short Term Structure Of U.S. Treasury Debt