May Savings Bond Rates - Record High I Bond Inflation Rate of 9.62%


The Treasury released the new I Bond and EE Bond rates today. New rates are announced on every first business day of May and November.

I Bond Rates for New Purchases

As I had calculated on April 12th, the I Bond inflation rate is 9.62% (annualized). This is the highest inflation rate since the I Bond was introduced in 1998. Before today, the highest I Bond inflation rate was 7.12% that was set last November. The list below shows the five highest I Bond inflation rates. The full history of I Bond rates can be viewed at this TreasuryDirect page.

Five Highest I Bond Inflation Rates (Annualized)

  1. 9.62%, May 2022
  2. 7.12%, November 2021
  3. 5.70%, November 2005
  4. 4.92%, November 2008
  5. 4.84%, May 2008

As I had expected, the I Bond fixed rate remains at 0.00%. The zero fixed rate has been common for I Bonds in this type of interest rate environment. During the seven years from 2008 to 2015 when the Fed held rates near zero, the I Bond fixed rate had been set to zero eight out of the 14 six-month periods. With rising rates, the odds are rising that the Treasury will increase the fixed rate in November. This TipsWatch post has an interesting discussion of the I Bond fixed rate and shows that the Treasury has a history of offering a fixed rate above zero when the 10-year TIPS real yield is above zero.

With an I Bond inflation rate of 9.62% and a fixed rate of 0.00%, the I Bond composite rate is easy to calculate. It’s equal to the inflation rate of 9.62%.


I Bond Rates:
Composite Rate: 9.62%
Fixed Rate: 0.00%
Inflation Rate: 9.62%

EE Bond Rate: 0.10% (EE Bond is guaranteed to double in value in 20 years)

Rates effective May 2022 through October 2022

The I Bond composite rate is very high compared to today’s CD rates from online banks and credit unions, but it’s important to remember that the inflation rate on the I Bond changes every six months. Even if future inflation numbers go back to normal, that would still result in a competitive return for I Bonds over the next couple of years.

For those looking for a safe inflation hedge, I Bonds are a good choice. One nice thing about I Bonds is that the composite rate is guaranteed never to fall below zero. So if we get a period of deflation (which has occurred after periods of high inflation), the I Bond composite rate will never be lower than zero. That’s an advantage over Treasury TIPS which can go negative. With current TIPS yields, I Bonds are currently a better deal. The primary downside of I Bonds is the purchase limit. The maximum that an individual can purchase per year is $10,000 at TreasuryDirect and $5,000 in paper bonds purchased with an IRS tax refund (There are ways to buy more I Bonds. Harry Sit of The Finance Buff has a useful review of how a married couple could buy up to $65,000 in I Bonds in one calendar year by using business accounts and trust accounts.)

I Bond Rates for Current I Bond Holders

I Bonds purchased in the past will get six months of this new inflation rate. The start of this six-month period depends on when you purchased the I Bond. An I Bond's new inflation rate takes effect every six months after its issue month.

Here are a few examples of when the new I Bond inflation rate will take effect on old I Bonds. If you purchased I Bonds in April 2012 and October 2014, the 9.62% inflation rate won't take effect on those I Bonds until October 2022. If you purchased I Bonds in July 1999 and January 2000, the 9.62% inflation rate won’t take effect on those I Bonds until July 2022. For more details, please refer to this Treasury Direct page.

Composite I Bond Rate = 12.76% to 13.39% for I Bonds Purchased before Nov 2001

Those who purchased I Bonds from September 1998 through October 2001 have a fixed rate that ranges from 3.00% to 3.60%. Those I Bonds will have a composite rate for six months that ranges from 12.76% to 13.39%.

The following list shows the five highest composite rates that will occur on past I Bond purchases. These are active I Bonds that were purchased before November 2002.

Five Top I Bond Composite Rates

  • 13.39% (3.60% fixed rate, issued May 00 - Oct 00)
  • 13.18% (3.40% fixed rate, issued Sep 98 - Oct 98, Nov 99 - Apr 00, Nov 00 - Apr 01)
  • 13.08% (3.30% fixed rate, issued Nov 98 - Apr 99, May 99 - Oct 99)
  • 12.76% (3.00% fixed rate, issued May 01 - Oct 01)
  • 11.72% (2.00% fixed rate, issued Nov 01 - Apr 02, May 02 - Oct 02)

EE Bond Rates

Yet again, the Treasury kept the EE Bond rate the same at 0.10%. With this low rate, in my opinion, the only reason to purchase an EE Bond is if you’re planning to hold it for 20 years. In that case, the EE Bond is guaranteed to double in value. This is equivalent to an annual return of about 3.5%, which is higher than the current yield of the 20-year Treasury bond (3.14% at Friday’s market close).

Overview of Series I Savings Bond Features

Below is a summary of the I Bond features. More information is available at this Treasury Direct I Bond page:

  • Can't be redeemed within 12 months of issue date
  • Lose three months interest if redeemed within five years
  • Interest is composed of fixed and inflation-based rate
  • Fixed rate remains for life of bond
  • The composite rate will never be less than zero
  • Inflation-based rate changes every six months after issue month
  • New rates announced every six months on first business day of November and May
  • Federal tax can be deferred on interest until bond is redeemed
  • Interest is exempt from state and local tax
  • Some or all interest is tax exempt when used for educational expenses
  • Maximum purchases per calendar year and per social security number is $10,000 in TreasuryDirect and $5,000 in paper bonds purchased with IRS tax refunds (See The Finance Buff postabout extending limits via trust/business purchases)

  |     |   Comment #1
9.62%. Wow! And no state or local tax.
  |     |   Comment #16
You cannot cash it out for one year.  So you are taking the risk that the rate in the second 6 months could be much lower.  Its possible that you will earn the 9.62% but unlikely.
But even if the rate is 0% for the second 6 month period you hold the bond, you will still do better than say a one year CD as long you don't continue to hold it if it starts paying below market rates.
  |     |   Comment #19
Yeah but not much risk of lower inflation in this environment PD. lol ;o
  |     |   Comment #50
"However, for those earning 1% on their $100K CD to then get a 4% returns is a nice 300% increase to offset the current inflation,"

True, which is why the end of April was such a good time to buy, as you had all the information you needed to pretty much know what 1 year of holding it would get you, thus eliminating that risk.
  |     |   Comment #56
The quote should have been "So you are taking the risk that the rate in the second 6 months could be much lower.". This keyboard is getting old and the Ctrl-C sometimes fails to copy thus I get the what was previously in the copy buffer instead. :(
  |     |   Comment #2
My I bonds are all electronic with different purchase dates and different amounts so I can't use the calculator on the TD website to calculate values. Has anyone found a good easy to use spreadsheet calculator to track them?
  |     |   Comment #3
The TD website aways shows the current value of individual electronic I-Bonds and the total holdings current value, when you view them. Or, am I the one that is confused about your question? ;-)
  |     |   Comment #5
I see that but where can I see the interest month by month per bond, maybe I'm not drilling down deep enough? Also in regard to the three month holding period where no interest is added, is the 4th month interest amount calculated on the original $10K or 10K +3 months interest?
  |     |   Comment #8
Interest is compounded semiannually, so no you cannot see month by month just current value. You mentioned .. "three month holding period where no interest is added" ... what you are referring to is the displayed value.

Per the TD website .. "If you use TreasuryDirect or the Savings Bond Calculator to find the value of a bond less than five years old, the value displayed reflects the three-month penalty; that is, the amount of the penalty has been subtracted already."
  |     |   Comment #49
Basically what you are seeing on the 4th month of interest is: your 10k + 4 months of interest - the last 3 months of interest. which effectively means the value shown is 10K + the 1st month of interest.
  |     |   Comment #4
Not sure if this helps but I use the treasury direct savings bond calculator.
  |     |   Comment #6
I tried that one but it seems to be for paper bonds only and asked for a bind serial number.
  |     |   Comment #7
You're right, just found this....Note: The Calculator is for paper bonds only. To learn the value of your electronic savings bonds, log in to your TreasuryDirect account.
When I log onto my treasury direct and click on current holdings it tells me what my bonds are worth.
  |     |   Comment #34
Confused1 " and asked for a bind serial number."

That serial number field is optional and has no bearing on the interest calculation. It's only for your own informational purposes, you can enter anything or nothing in the field (it doesn't check for a valid bond serial number). If you are looking at multiple bonds you could label them with that field as "bond 1", "bond 2" etc. if you wanted.

Mak: "The Calculator is for paper bonds only."

Correct, but as the rules for calculating interest are the same regardless of whether you bought paper or electronic, it can be used for electronic as well but you have to keep in mind it will limit you to entering a max value of 5k as that's the most in paper ibonds you can currently buy in a year (via tax refund money). so for a 10k electronic bond I'd suggest using the 1k value and multiply the result by 10.

Mak: "When I log onto my treasury direct and click on current holdings it tells me what my bonds are worth."

Indeed, that's probably the easiest way to find current value. The calculator is good for seeing what they were worth in previous months, or what they'll be worth a few months into the future (currently you can go as far as 11/2022 in the "value as of" field) should you be interested in that information.
  |     |   Comment #15
Confused1 (responding to your Comment #6): The TreasuryDirect calculator for paper savings bonds has a field for "Bond Serial Number". The calculator works perfectly fine if you make no entry in that field.

The "Denomination" field in that calculator is based on the denominations of paper savings bonds. You may need to multiply results generated by the calculator to determine the value of your electronic bonds.

As to the bonds' values on a month-by-month basis (see your Comment #5): As I understand your comment (and apologies if I have misunderstood), you can determine the value for past months, and for certain future months, by adjusting the field denominated "Value as of".
  |     |   Comment #10
Does this help?
  |     |   Comment #13
Exactly what I was looking for, thank you very much.
I had found the second link before and lost it but the first link is even better because I can change the amount to any purchase amount for the calculation. I bought 2 bonds of odd amount this year in different months. I just need to remember to deduct the first 3 month interest which is the penalty if I cash any of them in before 5 years.
  |     |   Comment #14
I should have said the last 3 months interest.
  |     |   Comment #18
Thanks @ ddlatt!
  |     |   Comment #9
Are these worth purchasing if holding for one year?
  |     |   Comment #11
Maybe this will help answer the question:
  |     |   Comment #51
"Are these worth purchasing if holding for one year?"

There's a lot of factors to consider, and not everyone weighs those factors the same. (in short: it's complicated).

one big one to consider is:
if you hold for less than 5 years, you'll lose out on the last 3 months of interest, so you might want to hold on a little longer than a year depending on what the newest rate will be IE if you had a great rates for the two 6 month periods of that year but the next 6 months rate will be considerably lower, it may be better to wait for 15 months to cash out (instead of 12) so that the 3 month penalty is taken from months 13-15 at the lower rate instead of the higher rate of months 10-12.
  |     |   Comment #17
Did I read something in the past that it's best to buy these at the end of the month?

That is interest does not start until the next month?
  |     |   Comment #20
Yes, Jack, it's best to purchase iBonds towards the end of the month . . . but not for the reason you think.

In fact, it's just the opposite: whichever day you purchase your iBonds during a given month, your interest begins on the FIRST of that very same month. (Purchase on the 25th, and it's as if your order went through a few weeks prior, on the 1st).

This is to your advantage, because you can still be earning interest in your funding account, right up until the day that Treasury Direct pulls your funds. So you are effectively earning interest on the same money in two places, at the same time!

Be careful on your timing, though. Note that, above, I said "towards" the end of the month. If you attempt to purchase on the very last day of the month (or even a day or two before, especially in a month that ends on or just after a weekend) you risk Treasury Direct transacting your iBond purchase in the following month. Which negates your "double interest" advantage!

So play it safe, and don't cut it too close. Schedule the funding of your iBond purchase to occur a few days prior to the month's end. On, say, the 27th or 26th, just to be sure. Or even earlier, if you're purchasing in a short month, like February :-)
  |     |   Comment #22
NYCDoug: That is helpful counsel. Thanks.
  |     |   Comment #59
Read elsewhere (YMMV):

"Second-to-last business day of the month is the latest you can submit a purchase that will actually occur that month. So for April that would have been 4/28."
  |     |   Comment #52
As NYCDoug says, purchasing near the end of the month is best due to the way interest is determined (just be sure not to cut it too close to the end for the reasons Doug mentions).

On the flip side, when you wish to cash out (assuming you cash out before 30 years is up), doing so at the beginning of the month is best for the same reason. You get credited the whole month's worth of interest even though you only held the bond for a day or two of that month.
  |     |   Comment #21
Hey, guess who's paying the fat interest we're earning on these babies.

  |     |   Comment #23
I mentioned in Comment #1 absence of state and local tax. And of course Ken also mentioned this in his writeup. I failed to mention:

For certain individuals (you people know who you are) I bonds help in addition with the dreaded and hated IRMAA. The IRMAA is so onerous and unfair that any help whatsoever is wonderful and welcome.

I bonds are IRMAA salve. I will be turning mine in only after hell freezes over.
  |     |   Comment #24
You make too much money according to the SSA Kaight. I guess as far as problems go that's not a bad one to have. At least some types of income are tax free though. ; )
  |     |   Comment #25
The problem is that when you buy bonds with a zero base rate, they are only good to hold in periods of high inflation. Buying and holding these bonds over the last decade or more was not a very lucrative strategy. I'll grant you that they don't contribute to IRMAA income in years they pay no interest, but getting a zero return isn't exactly a good way to avoid IRMAA. So keeping them for the long term may not be a very good investment.

I can't see any point in holding zero base rate I-bonds once the rates become uncompetitive with CDs except for the risk that they may be discontinued in the future so that you cannot buy them anymore (1). And holding them for that reason is very speculative.

(1) except for holding them after rates fall for purposes of strategically redeeming them for EWP or cash flow reasons.
  |     |   Comment #26
Also, and I am not suggesting this is that case with you Kaight, I think some people are penny wise and pound foolish regarding the IRMAA. And some advisors I have listened to are guilty of the same thing. They focus so much on saving a few thousand dollars a year on IRMAA (which I agree is infuriating) that they lose sight of optimization of the core investment strategy. It's a shiny object that most people don't understand so some advisors focus too much on it to try to prove how well they are looking out for their clients when they are really not.

IRMAA is a stealth income tax on seniors. I share your disdain for it. Congress was rightfully too ashamed to include it up front with the regular income tax so they hid it buried in the Medicare program.
  |     |   Comment #28
A key problem with the IRMAA lies in its stepwise nature. You can literally exceed an IRMAA boundary by one dollar and end up facing a thousand or more dollars of additional tax. This is ridiculous. And it is wildly unfair.

The tax itself, which was imposed by Republicans, might or might not be reasonable depending on your viewpoint. But the method of administration is manifestly out of whack.

Hence I bonds, or anything else which can reduce one's reportable income, are a help with this monstrosity of a tax.
  |     |   Comment #29
I agree with two caveats.

1. The IRMAA was also expanded by Democrats during the Obama administration.

2. Yes, things that provide income that that is not included for purposes of calculating IRMAA can be helpful to those who are subject to it, but only if the value of that exemption exceeds any deficiency in the underlying investment with respect to available similar options. Over the long term, considering the highly variable nature of I-bond returns and the limitation on purchase amounts, I don't think you can rely on this.
  |     |   Comment #36
After Obama, IRMAA was expanded again in 2018 by TFG. Anyway, on this we agree I think that for folks 65 and older the tax on SS and Medicare's premiums including IRMAA have been poorly implemented by not indexing the SS tax for inflation and by implementing the IRMA cliff and using not so progressive brackets. Just wait till those RMDs start hitting the IRMAA fan.
  |     |   Comment #42
Good post, Milty, and you make a great point. Fortunately for me, the entirety of my IRA funds is in a Roth. Thank goodness and that is where they shall remain. Last thing I need is more income to feed the insatiable IRMAA beast.
  |     |   Comment #55
#42: I had thought about excluding the Roths, but decided to keep it short. I have a couple Roth IRAs, but the bulk of my retirement is in pre-tax 401k. Am hoping those IRMAA brackets will have gone up considerably by the time I hit RMD age. Roths are definitely a good idea, and wished I had paid more attention to them years ago.
  |     |   Comment #57
#55 I hear you, with the amount of money in my pre-tax 401k, if RMDS kicked in at retirement, my IRMAA bracket would be pretty nasty. Fortunately they've pushed the RMD age back a bit and I plan on converting as much of my 401k to a Roth IRA as I can in the years between retiring (TBD, but no later than 65, likely closer to 60 though I'll hold off on collecting SS until at least FRA) and RMDs kicking in (currently 72 though there is talk of pushing that back even further to 75, which I hope they do), when my income will be considerably lower than it currently is. Just a matter of carefully planning the conversion amount vs my other income to avoid nasty tax landmines like IRMAA in those years. Then once RMDs kick in, hopefully I'll be below the IRMAA brackets (or at least not as high up the brackets as I'd otherwise be)
  |     |   Comment #30
Soc Sec works on same principle…take taxable income before Soc Sec is an option or plan accordingly.  How do ibonds relate to IRMAA?  Redemption triggers interest into the calculation?
  |     |   Comment #31
Yes, the SS tax is another shameful, untransparent, inefficient and expensive to administer tax stealth tax on seniors.

Givith with one hand and taketh away with the other.
  |     |   Comment #33
Which was initiated when??? Did we miss that :)
  |     |   Comment #58
#33, The SS tax came about as part of the bipartisan 1983 reform that "saved" SS (the trust fund was near zero and would have had to drastically cut benefits across the board within a few months). The 1983 reform was a compromise (a dirty word in DC these days) between the Dems and Reps (both sides got their preferred fixes. Reps got the FRA pushed back to 67 to cut expenditures, Dems got an increase in the SS payroll tax to increase revenues).

However, one of the more controversial additions in that 1983 reform was the taxing of Social Security benefits (50%). This tax, which was originally designed to only impact upper-income senior households, was introduced to help raise additional revenue and avoid having to cut retired-worker benefits. That tax was expanded into a two tier tax (50% and 85%) in 1993. Not being indexed for inflation, more and more seniors have become subject to the tax as years have gone by.

The reform bill that included that provision passed the Democrat controlled congress on a bi-partisan vote and was signed into law by Republican president Ronald Reagan. The 1993 expansion, on the other hand passed the Democrat controlled congress without as single Republican vote and was signed into law by Democrat president Bill Clinton (incidentally, then Senator Joe Biden voted Yes on the bill)

The idea for the tax originally came from the bi-partisan Greenspan commission. I've seen nothing to indicate which member or members came up with the idea. But one can speculate given the nature of the change and the nature of the 1993 expansion vote (hint like today, one party's preferred fix was/is tax increases especially if they can claim it's going after the "upper income"/"rich" but which inevitably ends up bulls-eyeing the middle class whereas the other party's preferred fix was/is expenditure cuts)
  |     |   Comment #40
Yes, and let’s realize that (for all except those who will use the proceeds of their redemptions to fund qualifying education) the accumulated interest will be federally taxable. This means that the inflation component of our interest is taxed along with whatever the fixed component happens to be, even though most of the inflation protection is intended to be for protection of our principal, so we are not fully protected from inflation even if we make the dubious claim that the CPI used is a fair reflection of inflation. In periods of rising inflation we are also behind the curve because the inflation component by necessity is not current but is a look-back on the CPI changes. On the other hand, if the inflation rate later declines, we get the benefit of an inflation rate for our next six-month period that may ve higher than the current period rate.
  |     |   Comment #53
Yes, the "lag" can either be a blessing or a curse, depending on which direction inflation is moving.
  |     |   Comment #27
On the actual old "paper" I bond, where is the actual Maturity date? I was purchasing these from 2001 - through 2008, often at the maximum of $60K annually - and I plan to hold them until full maturity, my last reconciliation on the website had them at about $750K! (About 1/3~ are held via Treasury Direct when the I bond went to electronic only purchases some years ago). But there are various "dates" and stamps on the actual bonds, I was wondering what they meant and what day/date of the month they actually mature. THE US website is kinda nebulous. (They should post a picture with all the meanings...! :)
  |     |   Comment #32
Add 30 years to the Issue Date; they don't "grow" (no more interest) beyond then.

But you can cash them in any time you wish, Jeff (without penalty after 5 years, as I'm sure you're well aware). Hence there is no one, fixed, hard set maturity date for your iBonds. Just a 30-year period, after which they effectively become dormant, without accruing further interest.
  |     |   Comment #35
TreasuryDirect has an illustration of a paper Series I savings bond at

The only date on the paper bond that matters is the Issue Date. The Issue Date consists of a month and a year.

In the TreasuryDirect illustration, the Issue Date is November 2005. That bond, with 30 years of interest, can be redeemed on the first business day of November 2035 (Thursday, November 1, 2035), regardless of any other dates that appear on that bond.
  |     |   Comment #45
That's what I'm lookin for, ...I don't want to hold 'em past expiration but, don't wanna cash 'em a month early either! Thanx! and I'm holding 'em as part of my overall portfolio for 30 Years all of' em have Fixed rates of 3% down to 1.2%. Maturing 2031 to 2038...
  |     |   Comment #37
Gaaaa! Based on Ken's always excellent info, I applied for a Treasury Direct account. Instantly (3 days later, warned it could take 2 weeks, so prompt there!) got email requiring "Treasury Direct Account Authorization" form which meant to trip to local bank for "medallion guarantee" of who the heck I am. Mailed form same day, April 19. Form has different Treasury Direct P O Box than the email with form. Only mailed to address email gave, figuring it more recent??? Sent regular mail, not registered. Could be 2 mistakes!
Now on 2 hour wait, have already been disconnected once. Yesterday early afternoon told wait line filled, earlier this morn recording said # out of order, so not hanging up!
Any way around this debacle, or is this fiery hoop I must jump?
Already checked & no banks or brokerages that I could find sell the Series I.
  |     |   Comment #38
Forgot to mention, phone # I'm on 2 HOUR WAIT for is one given on site when I try to log into account, frozen awaiting T. Direct approving the "Treasury Direct Account Authorization" form mailed April 19.
  |     |   Comment #39
I was in a similar situation. My wait was about two weeks between mailing of form and having account unlocked. The unlocking occurred about a day after I received email confirmation of form receipt. Subsequently, I learned that you can submit form by email, which really expedites the process. I've also heard that your best bet for cutting phone time is to call first thing when they open, at 8:00 ET. Good luck, and hang in there!
  |     |   Comment #41
Second day of the month and (still) trying to open a TD account! Interest accrues from the first of the month of purchase. Try a little later in the month when fewer newbies are trying to set up an account may be an option?
  |     |   Comment #44
That would certainly be less anxiety, Choice! I've already passed possibility of getting in by end of April for 1st 6 months @ 6+%.
  |     |   Comment #43
Thank you, Sylvia.
Both email & "Account Authorization" form attached in email ONLY allow snail mail- with conflicting P O Box address.
I could not see the above required form on site:
Page was solid black. Asked for email copy. Maybe the Treasury site copy of form allows email sending?
Did try calling early EST this morn & got recording several times that stated that line not functioning, try on site for needed information... Gaaa! Got thru to 2+ hour wait list about 10am PST. Was disconnected after about 1 hour- had to go to square one & call back for another 2+ hour wait.
Results of that call ??embarrassed to say...went to another room JUST as REAL LIVE service person said: "Can't hear you, so call back later" As I yelled "I'm here", click.
Warning to others: If told "estimated wait time is 30 minutes" DO NOT LEAVE ROOM!
  |     |   Comment #46
I finally go thru to TD after an hr. wait, to get my acct. unlocked. I could tell the nice lady on the phone was a bit stressed. She told me she had worked 8 years with TD and had never seen the amount of calls and buying of ibonds. She said it was insane, absolutely insane.
  |     |   Comment #47
BluBaroness (#43), I feel your pain — to have missed a live connection after that significant investment of time! The TD site has no mention of an email option for form submission. I learned of it from a couple folks online but have not been able to confirm on TD’s site.

I think problem is both increased demand and TD’s archaic processes and rickety system. Citing Treasury Dept. records, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that I Bond sales totaled $11 billion over latest 6 months, compared to $1.2 billion for comparable period in prior two years. (No link as article is behind paywall.) Current TD processes are too reliant on paper, snail mail and phone interaction.
  |     |   Comment #48
Yes, Sylvia! Think I may take Choice's suggestion of chilling a bit before I set up iPhone on charger for another 2+ hour wait. Could be, like jimdog, I'll get nice lady who will unlock my account & since they took so long to process my form, they will let my bond be retroactive to April (HAHAHAHA). OR I could be told they're working on it & will get back to me in a couple months....
  |     |   Comment #54
Absolutely excellent thread. Valuable investment info and insight with minimal political opinions.
  |     |   Comment #60
omg! I never thought I would see this in my life-time. I bought I-bonds form 1999-2009 and they are rolling. Thank you so much for helping working class people to get a win-fall! Good job U.S. Treasury!
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