FAQs About Auctions
Auction Basics, Scheduling, and Reporting
Each U.S. Treasury Bill, Note, Bond, Treasury Inflation-Protected Security (TIPS) or Floating Rate Note (FRN) is sold at a public auction. In these auctions, all successful bidders are awarded securities at the same price, which is the price that corresponds to the highest rate, yield, or discount margin of the competitive bids we accept. A complete explanation of the auction process can be found in our Uniform Offering Circular, which is in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 31 CFR Part 356.
Usually on the first Wednesday of February, May, August, and November, the U.S. Treasury publishes a tentative auction schedule (PDF). The dates on the schedule can change, but seldom do. In addition to this schedule, we provide a general pattern of when auctions are held; this information is available by type of security and by month.
- Subscribe to get the results electronically through e-mail.
- View the results on TreasuryDirect.gov.
- Some media outlets report auction results.
U.S. Treasury Bills, Notes, Bonds, TIPS, and FRNs are sold at single-price auctions. In a single-price auction, all successful competitive bidders and all noncompetitive bidders are awarded securities at the price based on the highest rate, yield, or discount margin of awarded competitive tenders.
Bidding in Auctions
Simply submit a tender with a bid through a broker, dealer, financial institution, or TreasuryDirect for the security you would like to purchase. You can bid either noncompetitively or competitively, but not both ways in the same auction. In TreasuryDirect, you can only bid noncompetitively.
If you bid noncompetitively, you'll be awarded the full amount of your bid for a security at the rate, yield, or discount margin determined at the auction close. Therefore, you don't have to specify a rate, yield, or discount margin with your bid. Noncompetitive bids are limited to $10 million per auction. Most individual investors bid noncompetitively.
If you bid competitively, you specify the return - the discount rate for Bills, the yield for Notes, Bonds, and TIPS, or the discount margin for FRNs - that you wish to receive. Depending on the highest competitive discount rate, yield, or discount margin awarded at auction compared to your bid, you may be awarded the full amount, a portion, or none of the security for which you bid. Competitive awards are limited to 35% of the total offering amount minus net long position.
In a Treasury securities auction, direct bidding is the submission of bids by an entity directly in TAAPS rather than through an intermediary such as a bank or a securities dealer. Treasury has permitted direct bidding, both competitively and noncompetitively, as long as it has conducted securities auctions.
Entities permitted to submit bids directly include, but are not limited to, individuals, primary dealers, other brokers and dealers (non-primary), various types of investment funds (for example, pension, hedge, mutual), insurance companies, depository institutions (banks), foreign and international entities (governmental and private), the Federal Reserve (System Open Market Account), and individuals.
Any entity or individual may bid directly if the entity or individual has made all the necessary arrangements for access to TAAPS and has made proper arrangements for delivery and payment for auction awards. For entities or individuals that do not have a funds and securities account with the Federal Reserve, payment is arranged through an AutoCharge Agreement.
"Direct Bidder" is referred to on the auction results press release as non-primary dealer submitters bidding for their own house accounts, i.e., for the bidder's "proprietary" accounts.
An "Indirect Bidder" is referred to on the auction results press release as customers placing competitive bids through a primary dealer, including Foreign and International Monetary Authorities placing bids through the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Treasury is providing participants in competitive auctions with guidelines to encourage the establishment of clear information-handling policies, disclosure practices, and internal control programs.