WASHINGTON — The U.S. Treasury estimated it will borrow $288 billion of net marketable debt in the fourth quarter of 2012, assuming a $60 billion cash balance on December 31, the Treasury announced Monday afternoon.

The borrowing estimate is 29 billion than the prior estimate of $316 billion, which assumed a cash balance of $40 billion at the end of December.

"The decrease in borrowing relates to lower outlays, higher receipts, and changes in the cash balance assumptions," Treasury said.

In the third quarter of 2012, Treasury's actual borrowing was $264 billion, while the end-of-quarter cash balance was $85 billion.

For the third quarter of 2012, Treasury had previously estimated it would borrow $276 billion, assuming a $60 billion cash balance on September 30.

"The decrease in borrowing was driven by higher-than-projected receipts — primarily due to Treasury's sale of American International Group common stock — and lower-than-projected outlays, partially offset by changes in the cash balance assumptions," Treasury said.

Looking ahead, Treasury said that it expects to borrow $342 billion in the first quarter of next year, with an end-of-quarter cash balance of $30 billion on March 31, 2013.

Details of the quarterly refunding are scheduled to be released on Wednesday, October 31 at 9:00 a.m. ET.

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