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Off-the-Run Treasuries


Off-the-run Treasuries refer to U.S. Treasury securities that are no longer the most recently issued, or “on-the-run,” bonds or notes in their respective maturity categories. As older securities with less trading volume, they typically offer a slightly higher yield compared to their more newly-issued counterparts. This is due to their lower liquidity and the greater difficulty in determining their current market value accurately.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Off-the-Run Treasuries” is: /ɒf ðə ˈrʌn ˈtrɛʒəriz/.

Key Takeaways

  1. Off-the-Run Treasuries are treasury bonds and notes that are not part of the currently issued or most recently auctioned series and have more diverse maturities.
  2. These securities typically have lower liquidity and trade less frequently compared to On-the-Run Treasuries, resulting in wider bid-ask spreads and higher yields.
  3. Off-the-Run Treasuries can offer potentially greater returns and diversification for investors who are willing to absorb additional risk due to their lower liquidity and trading volume.


Off-the-Run Treasuries are important in business and finance as they refer to government-issued bonds that have been previously auctioned and now trade in the secondary market. These bonds serve as an alternative to on-the-run issues, offering a higher yield due to their lower liquidity and longer duration. Off-the-run Treasuries play a crucial role in providing market participants with diverse investment options, helping to maintain market liquidity and manage risk. Additionally, their pricing can offer insight into the overall health of the bond market, enabling investors and policymakers to make well-informed decisions. In essence, off-the-run treasuries contribute to the efficient functioning of financial markets and facilitate robust market activity for investors.


Off-the-run Treasuries serve a crucial purpose in the financial markets, primarily in terms of liquidity and risk management. These are U.S. Treasury securities that are no longer the most recently issued bonds or notes of a particular maturity. In other words, these are older issues that have been replaced by a newer, “on-the-run” Treasury security. Off-the-run Treasuries offer an essential avenue for long-term investors, such as pension funds and insurance companies, to diversify their holdings away from the current benchmark Treasury securities. This diversification allows them to mitigate interest rate risks and provides a potential hedge against economic fluctuations. Furthermore, off-the-run Treasuries are advantageous for market participants seeking to maintain a well-balanced portfolio with improved stability. In addition to being a useful tool for managing portfolio risk, off-the-run Treasuries are typically employed by traders in relative value strategies due to their price discrepancies as compared to the on-the-run issues. Given the lower liquidity and trading volume associated with these older securities, off-the-run Treasuries often trade at a discount relative to their on-the-run counterparts, resulting in higher yields. This price differential creates opportunities for market participants to capitalize on arbitrage or relative value trades while also providing a vital source of liquidity in the secondary market. As a result, off-the-run Treasuries not only contribute to the efficiency of the financial markets but also benefit investors seeking opportunities for enhanced returns.


Off-the-run Treasuries are U.S. government Treasury securities that are not part of the most recently issued issue within a particular maturity. Here are three real world examples: Example 1: The U.S. Department of the Treasury has a schedule for issuing new Treasury Bonds every quarter. Let’s say the Treasury issued a new 10-year note in June 2021, and it is now August 2021. The 10-year note from June 2021 would now be considered off-the-run, as it is not the most recently issued 10-year note. Example 2: The U.S. Treasury issued a new 5-year note in April 2021, May 2021, and June 2021. If an investor seeks to purchase a 5-year note in July 2021, the April and May offerings would be considered off-the-run, as they were issued before the most recent June issuance. Example 3: A financial institution or investor holds a portfolio of U.S. Treasury securities with various maturities. Some of the securities in this portfolio are off-the-run, meaning they were purchased after the most recent issuance of that particular maturity. These off-the-run Treasuries may have a slightly lower price and a higher yield compared to their on-the-run counterparts, due to the decreased market liquidity.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What are off-the-run Treasuries?
Off-the-run Treasuries are previously issued U.S. government Treasury bonds or notes that are no longer considered “on-the-run” or currently issued. In other words, they have been replaced by newer issues of bonds or notes that have similar maturity dates.
How do off-the-run Treasuries differ from on-the-run Treasuries?
On-the-run Treasuries are the most recently issued Treasury bonds or notes of a particular maturity, which makes them more liquid and typically carry lower yields. Off-the-run Treasuries are older issues that are still trading in the secondary market, usually with a less liquid status and higher yields as compared to their on-the-run counterparts.
Why are off-the-run Treasuries generally less liquid?
Off-the-run treasuries are less liquid because they are not as actively traded as on-the-run Treasuries. Most investors prefer to trade on-the-run Treasuries because they are more liquid, more readily available, and easier to price. As a result, off-the-run Treasuries may be more difficult to buy or sell quickly and might experience wider bid-ask spreads in the market.
Do off-the-run Treasuries have higher or lower yields than on-the-run Treasuries?
Off-the-run Treasuries generally have higher yields compared to their on-the-run counterparts. This is because off-the-run Treasuries are comparatively less liquid and therefore may be considered slightly riskier investments. To compensate for this increased risk, investors demand a higher yield when purchasing an off-the-run Treasury bond or note.
What is the yield curve and how does it relate to off-the-run Treasuries?
The yield curve is a representation of the interest rates or yields on different maturities of bonds, usually with a common issuer such as the Treasury. By comparing the yields on off-the-run treasuries to on-the-run Treasuries, one can observe the shape of the yield curve, which provides valuable information on the current market sentiment and expectations for future interest rates.
Are off-the-run Treasuries suitable for all investors?
Off-the-run Treasuries can be suitable for investors who are looking for generally higher yields and are willing to accept the potential liquidity risk associated with these instruments. However, due to the less liquid nature of off-the-run Treasuries, they may not be appropriate for all investors, particularly those who may need to quickly liquidate their investment or prefer more easily tradable assets.

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