PanamaTimes

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

How US Debt Default Would Affect Global Economy, Financial Markets

How US Debt Default Would Affect Global Economy, Financial Markets

Biden has maintained that default would have "catastrophic" consequences, and is urging Republicans to agree to a "clean" increase to US borrowing limits -- known as the debt ceiling -- before the deadline is reached.
President Joe Biden and Republicans in Congress have resumed crunch talks aimed at averting a damaging US debt default, which Treasury officials recently warned could come as early as June 1.

Biden has maintained that default would have "catastrophic" consequences, and is urging Republicans to agree to a "clean" increase to US borrowing limits -- known as the debt ceiling -- before the deadline is reached.

Republicans have pushed back, insisting they want an agreement from Democrats to commit to less spending in future in order for their support to extend the nation's borrowing authority.

Here is what could happen in the United States, and around the world, if the US fails to raise the debt ceiling:

What would it mean for financial markets?

If the Treasury is unable to meet all of its financial obligations, analysts forecast that US stock markets would likely suffer a sharp, temporary shock.

Along with a decline in US stocks, interest rates would spike, especially Treasury yields and mortgage rates, Moody's Analytics economist Bernard Yaros told AFP.

"That would lead to higher borrowing costs for consumers, for corporations," he said.

Households or businesses who fail to receive federal payments owed would likely pull back on near-term spending due to their loss of income, while consumer confidence may worsen, hurting the economy, Yaros said.

But any shocks are expected to be short-lived, with politicians likely to respond forcefully to any meaningful market reaction.

"I also would expect that once the deal's done the markets bounce back," Citigroup Global Chief Economist Nathan Sheets told AFP.

"I don't think that this episode is likely to be sufficiently long-lived that we should be calculating lower GDP forecasts," he said.

What would it mean for government?

Even if the United States misses the so-called X-date -- when the government runs out of money to meet all its financial obligations -- it will still have options.

It could, for instance, choose to prioritize debt repayment and delay other payments -- such as to federal agencies, Social Security beneficiaries, or Medicare providers.

This is the most likely scenario, according to Wendy Edelberg, senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution.

During a similar debt ceiling stand-off in 2011, Treasury officials drew up contingency plans to prevent a default on Treasury securities, and to ensure the Treasury would continue to pay interest on those securities as they come due.

A government shutdown would be unlikely, although federal workers' paychecks could be delayed, Edelberg said.

What would it mean for global economy?

Even if the US misses the X-date but continues repaying investors, the consequences of the political failure to reach agreement would likely ripple through global markets.

The government's inability to pay all its bills "would raise serious doubts about the nation's creditworthiness, sap the confidence of lenders, call into question the dollar's place as a reserve currency, and increase federal borrowing costs," Paul Van de Water from the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote in a recent blog post.

"Under the present circumstances, even the serious threat of a US default could be enough to roil markets and further damage the global economy," he said.

In the unlikely event of a default, the consequences would be substantial, according to Eric Dor, director of economic studies at IESEG business school in France.

"The interest rates charged by investors on bonds issued by the United States would rise sharply," as would private debt, which uses US government debt as a benchmark, he said.

"This increase in the cost of credit would cause a drop in business and household investment, as well as in consumption, and thus a sharp recession in the United States," Dor continued, adding it could also cause a recession in Europe and elsewhere.

"A default would destabilize the global financial system, which depends on the stability of the dollar as the world's safe asset and primary reserve currency," Jean Ross from the nonpartisan Center for American Progress wrote in a recent article.

"A loss of confidence in the dollar could have far reaching economic and foreign policy ramifications, as other countries, particularly China, would use default to push for their currency to serve as the foundation of global trade," she said.

Could US debt be downgraded?

As the X-date draws closer, investors are nervously watching the ratings agencies for signs of a possible downgrade to US debt.

This last happened back in 2011, when a similar debt ceiling stand-off led ratings agency S&P to lower its US credit rating from AAA to AA+, drawing bipartisan outrage.

Even if the United States hits the debt ceiling but continues paying its bills, the ratings agencies will likely take note, according to Nathan Sheets from Citi, underscoring the need for a negotiated agreement ahead of time.

"Debates about whether or not you pay occurring periodically is typically not a feature that you would associate with a top credit" rating, he said.
Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
0:00
0:00
Close
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police
×