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In 2004, for the first time, foreigners owned more than half of privately held U.S. public debt, mostly in the form of marketable U.S. Treasury securities. In internal discussions at the U.S. Treasury Department, the increase in the foreign appetite for Treasury securities represented global investors' vote of confidence in the U.S. economy. Many in the Treasury believed that broad foreign ownership helped lower Treasury borrowing costs. But there was an increasing uneasiness among many in Washington’s power circle about U.S. dependence on foreign loans. This case describes the meeting between the Treasury and the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee (TBAC) of the Bond Market Association on August 3, 2004, in which the Treasury gave the Committee the charge to discuss, among other issues, the level of foreign ownership. Written for a first-year course entitled "Global Economies and Markets," this case describes the market for U.S. Treasury securities, giving details on market institutions and market participants, and some of the reasons U.S. Treasury securities serve as benchmarks and hedging instruments. As the third case in the module on global markets, it is used to describe a market that is closest to the ideal of a perfectly competitive market and to illustrate the relationship between market institutions and structure on the one hand, and market liquidity and efficiency on the other. The case has also been used in the module on open economy in Darden's first year MBA program. In this usage, it is generally preceded by a case that introduces the concept of real exchange rate and economic exposure to foreign exchange risks, and a discussion on balance of payments accounting. This case (UVA-F-1477) or the abridged version (UVA-F-1540) is then used to introduce the model of a large open economy. The case is usually followed by classes on exchange rate determination, exchange rate regimes, and balance of payments crises.
1. To introduce the market for Treasury securities and its supporting institutions in the United States and global financial markets (for UVA-F-1477 only) 2. To practice the balance of payments concept 3. To introduce and practice the large open economy model of interest-rate and exchange-rate determination 4. To gain an appreciation of the growing interdependence in the global economy, and its benefits and potential risks