Critics who argue that the U.S. Treasury ought to take advantage of the record low level of short-term interest rates won a small victory on Feb. 5. The Treasury Dept. announced that it will auction $10 billion in 30-year bonds during its quarterly refunding auction on Feb. 11-13, down from the $12 billion level of recent offerings.

The $2 billion difference will be made up by selling more short-term securities. The new mix of securities will be used in future financing, gradually shortening the maturity of U.S. debt from its current six-year average. But Treasury officials insist that they're not planning to go much further in reducing the long bond's role.

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