T-Bill 22 Aug 2023 (BS23116F) Yield Dropped Again to 3.73%

T-Bill 22 Aug 2023 (BS23116F)

The auction for T-Bill 22 Aug 2023 (BS23116F) has concluded with a cut-off yield of 3.73%. The result is somewhat expected and only slightly declined from the last issuance’s result of 3.75%. This result continued the trend of declining yield we started seeing in early July 2023.

Let’s see the summary of this auction:

T-Bill 22 Aug 2023 (BS23116F) auction summary


Yield Continued to Decline

There is a divergence between the Singapore T-bill yield and the US T-bill yield. While the US T-bill yield continues to rise, Singapore’s continues to decline. This T-Bill 22 Aug 2023 (BS23116F) confirmed this trend.

T-Bill 22 Aug 2023 (BS23116F) - historical rates
Source: Singapore T-bill interest rates

After reaching the local high of 3.99% in Jun 2023, the yield has steadily declined in the past several auctions. In contrast, the US treasury yield continues to rise and has been stable in the past several weeks:

US Treasury Bill 6M Rate YTD 2023

Despite the global central banks continuing to hike rates, the Singapore T-bills have bucked the trend and started to show a decline in rates. What do you think caused this decline?


Lower Demand

We also see a decline in the total application amount, which only amounted to $11.8 billion. This dropped from the previous auction, which reached $12.3 billion. This auction also broke the trend of increasing demand that we saw in the last several auctions.

T-Bill 22 Aug 2023 (BS23116F) - demand

Additionally, the amount offered in this auction is slightly higher at $5.6 billion (up from $5.5 billion in the previous auction). Even with a higher offering amount, and lower demand, the yield still declined. Because the trend of lower rates is only seen in Singapore T-bill, it does seem like there could be a ‘flight to safety’ aspect in play here. Singapore government bonds are seen as one of the safest instruments for Asian investors to park their excess liquidity in. However, for now, the exact reason is something to ponder about.

Lower Non-Competitive Bids

The T-Bill 22 Aug 2023 (BS23116F) auction saw relatively lower non-competitive bids, at only $1.6 billion. In the past several auctions, we saw higher non-competitive bids, even exceeding the 40% allocation limit for the non-competitive bids. This could be one of the reasons for the lower yield, as more bidders put in lower competitive bids to ensure they got their desired allocation.

But, there is a piece of good news for this auction: the non-competitive bids dropped quite significantly, and every non-competitive bidder got their full allocation. Yay! We need to keep monitoring these non-competitive vs. competitive bids to ensure that the trend of lower non-competitive bids continues (or at least is stable). If this trend of lower non-competitive bids persists, we can safely put in non-competitive bids going forward without worrying about hitting the maximum allocation cap.

As for the next auction, we will still use competitive bids to ensure we can get our desired allocation.


What About T-Bill Alternatives?

Despite declining to 3.73%, the current T-bill yield is still among the highest recently. The Singapore T-bill historical interest rates chart above shows that the current yield is still much higher than what we had just one year ago. The current yield is still seen as appealing.

How does the current T-bill yield compare to alternatives such as fixed deposits, high-yield savings, and cash management accounts?

Fixed deposits in Singapore have seen declining rates this year. The highest fixed deposit rate at the time of this writing only hovers around 3.5%. Singapore local banks, OCBC and UOB, even offer as low as 2.7%. Whew… we can safely say T-bill is currently more attractive than fixed deposits.

High-yield savings account still offers attractive rates above 4%. However, you must meet specific criteria, such as crediting salary, spending on the bank’s credit card, buying insurance, etc. A high-yield savings account can be a good choice if you can fulfill those criteria. However, please note that the interest rate is floating. Unlike T-bill, which locks the rate for six months, this interest rate will adjust according to the prevailing market interest rate. For example, if the interest rates start to drop next month, the interest rate you get from these high-yield savings accounts will likely follow suit too.

Cash management accounts also offer decent rates. You can fetch above the current T-bill yield of 3.73%. Like the high-yield savings accounts, the interest rate here also floats. However, one thing to note is that cash management accounts may not guarantee your principal. Although the risk is low, there is a chance you may lose a small portion of your principal. Please read the offering carefully before parking your cash in the cash management accounts.

Given all the pros and cons of the alternatives, T-bill is still one of the more attractive fixed-income instruments suitable for investors seeking capital preservation and guaranteed interests.

Are you interested in applying for the next T-bill auction? You may read our coverage on T-bills Singapore and how to buy T-bills to get started.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, investment advice, trading advice, or any other advice or recommendation of any sort.

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