Obama pays more than Buffett as US risks triple-A rating

The bond market is saying that it’s safer to lend to Warren Buffett than Barack Obama. Two-year notes sold by the billionaire’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in February yield 3.5 basis points less than Treasuries of similar maturity. Procter & Gamble Co., Johnson & Johnson and Lowe’s Cos. debt also traded at lower yields in recent weeks, a situation former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. chief fixed-income strategist Jack Malvey calls an “exceedingly rare” event in the history of the bond market. The $2.59trn of Treasury Department sales since the start of 2009 have created a glut as the budget deficit swelled to a post-World War II-record 10% of the economy and raised concerns whether the US deserves its triple-A credit rating. The increased borrowing may also undermine the first-quarter rally in Treasuries as the economy improves. “It’s a slap upside the head of the government,” said Mitchell Stapley, the chief fixed-income officer in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at Fifth Third Asset Management, which oversees $22bn. “It could be the moment where hopefully you realize that risk is beginning to creep into your credit profile and the costs associated with that can be pretty scary.”

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