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Treasury Department to add more debt than expected, as deficit inches toward $1 trillion

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks to the media July 26 in front of the West Wing in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Treasury Department has predicted that the U.S. Government will need to borrow more in 2018 than in any other year since 2008. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The U.S. Treasury Department has predicted that the U.S. government will need to borrow more in 2018 than in any other year since 2008.

Meanwhile, the federal government's budget deficit is still on track to hit $1 trillion by 2020. The committee recommending that the Treasury increase its borrowing also spoke of "substantial uncertainties in the outlook for financing needs over the next few years."

What's a budget deficit?

A deficit occurs when the government spends more money than it brings in. The budget deficit for the first nine months of this year is projected to reach $607 billion. Last year, the same nine months saw a $523 billion deficit.

The annual budget deficit is not the same as the national debt, which is the total amount that the nation has borrowed to pay off deficits over time. The national debt has risen by roughly $800 billion this year to $21.3 trillion.

What are the details?

The Treasury Department has predicted that it will need to issue $329 billion in net marketable debt just for this fiscal quarter. That's significantly more than the $273 billion it had estimated, and is the fourth-largest amount ever for a single quarter.

According to the minutes from the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (TBAC):

The Committee thought that if a similar plan of increasing coupons was followed in November, the Treasury would be well positioned to meet the financing gap in FY 2019. Members did note that Treasury should remain flexible given the substantial uncertainties in the outlook for financing needs over the next few years.

According to the Treasury's website, TBAC is "an advisory committee" that "meets quarterly with the Treasury Department" and "presents their observations to the Treasury Department on the overall strength of the U.S. economy as well as providing recommendations on a variety of technical debt management issues."

One last thing…
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