US Treasury may buy back debt

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THE US Treasury said yesterday that it was considering retiring some government debt with the proceeds of its rising budget surplus. A spokesman underlined that the idea was "still very much in an exploratory stage," but preparatory work was under way, he said.

The White House has said that the first priority is to shore up the country's social security system. Buybacks could use reverse auctions or purchases on the open market, he said. The US ran a dollars $70bn surplus for last year, and is headed for closer to $80bn this year. .