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The "30" in this context is the fresh 30-year bond or one with the longest maturity of all available. It's not as liquid as the latest issued 10-year note but still very much so. Then as it "ages out" into off-the-run status, its liquidity starts to decrease. Sure, various bond desks may still carry enough inventory of various Treasury bonds/notes from a retail point of view but there may be a different story if you're an institution. Those guys usually trade in huge lots and may, at the present time, have a harder time moving X amount of a bond maturing in 2041 vs same X amount of one maturing in 2051.

I read some months ago that in March of 2020 liquidity of certain Treasury issues really dried up. Perhaps it's not that it dried up but just wasn't there for the lots certain foreign funds, other large players needed to move. One source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaQhyd2h974.

I imagine retail buyers/sellers were still able to trade lots of, say, 25, 50 or 100 bonds fairly easily. I think the point is that given where rates are now, Treasury securities are for institutions to play now with more than ever. They have their own preferences for various reasons - 10-yr being more popular than 30-yr, 30 more liquid than 20, etc - and get better pricing on massive lots as they trade them back and forth. These UST rates just don't make much sense for retail bond investors in the States who like to either hold to maturity or at least for a considerable amount of time. If a retail investor wants to trade UST's, ETF's like IEF, TLT, SPTL, etc are probably the way to go but, again, the market is dominated by institutions. Not sure how much edge the "little guy" has there...

My point of view for whatever it's worth.
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