It's getting quiet in the Treasuries market.

U.S. government-debt trading at Wall Street's biggest banks has fallen 8 percent since the end of October from the comparable period last year, according to Federal Reserve data. It's down for the year, too, even with an unprecedented one-day surge in activity on Oct. 15.

While slow markets have pretty much always been bad for banks because they usually profit from more trading, the implications may be far greater this time.

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