Talk:Treasury bill

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Restriction to US[edit]

Whether the term "Treasury bill" applies only to US government obligations:

I have checked google:define:treasury bill. There, the sources vary in whether they restrict the term to the US or not, with the majority restricting the term to the US.

A web site that does not restrict the definition to the US: [1].

Background of my doubt: On the web and on Google books, I find the term "treasury bill" and its plural also used in conjunction with various European countries. Examples: google books:"German treasury bills", google books:"French treasury bills", google books:"Italian treasury bills". For comparison: google books:"treasury bills".

--Dan Polansky 08:08, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

In your searching, have you found whether it is used without an adjective (Italian, German) to refer to bills issued by those governments? It could be that it is used without the adjective in each country by English speakers to refer to the country's own bills. That is certainly how it is used in the US. It is often mentioned on US news shows that cover business, so it is beyond use here in only the financial markets themselves. I had a parallel problem with the use of local postal code terminology to include foreign postal codes that have their own name, including in English. DCDuring TALK 12:34, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
That is a good point, one that I did not take into account. Still, consider the following examples from Google books:
  • "Liquidation of the German treasury bills is spread over 12 years but since Germany is unlikely to to carry out this payment, paper money has fallen into ..."
  • "GERMAN TREASURY BILLS OUTSTANDING, 1918-21 * (billion marks) ".
  • "Thus a covered capital inflow into German treasury bills from, say US Treasury bills, ..."
  • "What he did not like, however, was the idea of placing British holdings of French Treasury bills on the market."
These examples suggest to me that what is referred to are obligation of Germany, not US obligations held by German government.
But I am not an expert.
Maybe I misunderstood what you're saying. Your "It could be that it is used without the adjective in each country by English speakers to refer to the country's own bills" makes a lot of sense to me. I understand it as that "treasury bill" defaults to "US treasury bill" in the US. That may be, but that does not prevent French treasury bills from being "treasury bills" too, isn't it? Like, in an imperfect analogy, "bird" may default to robin, but that does not make a penguin a non-bird. --Dan Polansky 13:42, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm not disagreeing with anything that you have said. The question is how to present the facts about usage. "Treasury bill" would seem to have derived from the US usage, AFAICT, because historically other terms were used in other countries. The size and worldwide importance of the market for US treasuries (yet another common term for the same thing + notes + bonds, also known as "sovereigns", presumably for sovereign credits, those backed by taxing power) seems to have led to the term treasury bills being used by English speakers for short-term securities issued by any sovereign. This gives two senses: 1., the US issued bills (which in many contexts in the US need no "US" qualifier, and 2., bills issued by any sovereign, the issuer's identity being in an adjective or attributive noun. The remaining question is whether it is common in any context for non-US treasury bills issued by a specific sovereign to be referred to as "treasury bills" without an adjective or attributive noun pointing to the identify of the issuer.
I am inordinately interested in getting this right because it could provide a model for many situations (such as the one with postal codes, also with Boy Scouts). Wherever a UK or US (usually, but in principal any English-speaking country or perhaps any country at all [see pioneer]) institutional phenomenon gives its name in some contexts to somewhat parallel phenomena in other countries, the referents need to be sorted out carefully and usually in similar ways. DCDuring TALK 16:42, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I confounded sense and usage in the edit summary and also in the comment above. DCDuring TALK 16:46, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
I would expect that both in the US and in most global financial markets, the English words "treasury bills", "treasuries", and "T-bills" (without modifier) would almost always refer to US Treasury obligations. But I just don't know for sure. We could use some facts. How do people and newspapers in London, Australia, NZ, and Canada refer to the securities involved? What about traders inFrankfurt, Bahrain, Singapore, and Hong Kong? DCDuring TALK 16:55, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

augmenting definition[edit]

currently reads "(US, finance) A government obligation that matures in one year or less, and pays no interest prior to maturity."

think it is somewhat important to include "sold at a discount of the par value to create a positive yield."

would expect to see: "(US, finance) A government obligation that matures in one year or less and is sold at a discount of the par value to create a positive yield (i.e., pays no interest prior to maturity").

n.b., there is no coupon (or interest rate) on a t-bill. rather it's imputed from a calculation factoring the difference between discount and face (par) value related to time. see wiki:treasury bill.-- 02:43, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

further to my comment above. this term is NOT "US" only. for example, Canada also issues "treasury bills." see several canadian-government sites: and
n.b. there are many English-speaking countries (including some with democracies that closely parallel the U.S. structure). a definition like this can't be merely one-country centric.
being quite new to wiktionary and not fully versed in wiktionary's protocols (just haven't had time to nose about the site), i'm hesitant to be bold and make changes.-- 13:57, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, especially for the issuance-at-discount point. Is that the standard practice for all governmental issuers of such bills? Is the name used even where the issuing department of the government is an "exchequer" or has some other name besides Treasury? DCDuring TALK 17:38, 21 September 2008 (UTC)