What to watch for market stress as the U.S. debt ceiling deadline nears

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A U.S. 5 greenback be aware is seen on this illustration photograph June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration

NEW YORK, Oct 5 (Reuters) – Worries concerning the debt ceiling are starting to rattle buyers because the deadline nears for Congress to lift the U.S. borrowing restrict to keep away from a historic default on U.S. debt.

With two weeks earlier than the Oct. 18 deadline, President Joe Biden stated Monday he can not assure the federal government won’t breach its $28.4 trillion debt restrict except Republicans be part of Democrats in voting to lift it.

Issues are mounting out there for short-term payments, credit score default spreads on U.S. debt and basically market sentiment. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has stated the federal government will run out of money round that date except Congress raises the restrict on the federal debt.

“The debt ceiling and infrastructure talks out of (Washington), D.C., will proceed to be entrance and middle this week amid extra hints that rankings companies might take the U.S. credit standing down a notch if the drama continues,” stated Arthur Hogan, chief market strategist at Nationwide Securities Corp.


There are indicators of pressure within the Treasury invoice market, with 1-month payments that will be affected by a possible default yielding larger than 3-month payments.

One-month payments at the moment yield 0.1%, near their highest ranges since March on an intraday foundation, in contrast with a 0.038% yield in three-month payments . The unfold between one-month and three-month payments is the widest since March 2020.

Portfolio managers usually keep away from invoice points vulnerable to default even when the probability of a failed cost may be very low. This could ship yields on some points larger than these on longer-dated debt, an uncommon incidence within the yield curve, which is usually upward-sloping.

Reuters Graphics


Apart from some minor volatility, the U.S. in a single day repurchase settlement (repo) market has proven little indicators of stress.

In a single day repo charges on Monday closed at 0.05% . There have been some pockets of volatility, merchants stated, in the previous few days. Final week, in a single day repo charges traded as excessive as 0.07%, however fell as little as -0.10%.

Because the debt ceiling deadline looms, repo charges have turn into risky as a result of with the U.S. Treasury anticipated to run down its money stability, the surplus funds movement into the banking system as reserves. Banks can both select to spend money on the repo market, which pushes charges decrease, or lend to the Federal Reserve through its reverse repo facility. That takes cash away from the repo market and tends to raise in a single day charges a bit of larger.

“Apart from maybe some elevated volatility, I do not see something outsized at this level that makes me assume it is ensuing from elevated angst concerning the debt ceiling,” stated Dan Belton, fixed-income strategist, at BMO Capital in Chicago.

Charges within the repo market are additionally affected at sure dates of the month by inflows from authorities state enterprises similar to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Final Thursday, quantity on the Fed’s reverse repo window soared to a report $1.604 trillion, as buyers flocked to the U.S. central financial institution facility the place they’re paid a assured 5 foundation for in a single day money with out counterparty threat.

Regular repo market


When buyers are anxious about an upcoming occasion, they usually load up on choices hedges, thereby driving up volatility embedded in these choices.

Choices on S&P 500 and its monitoring ETF , expiring on Oct. 15, simply previous to the debt ceiling deadline, show just a bit bit further volatility priced into them when put next with contracts expiring earlier than and after.

A extra important rise in volatility for expirations on and across the Oct. 18 deadline in coming days would inform that the debt ceiling showdown is garnering extra consideration from buyers.

Reuters Graphics


Thinly traded credit score default swaps that will repay within the case of a U.S. authorities default have spiked in latest days, although they continue to be far beneath the place they traded through the summer season of 2011 when extended debt ceiling negotiations led to rankings companies downgrading U.S. debt, based on Moody’s analytics.

One-year credit-default swaps are actually buying and selling at ranges final seen in December 2020, based on Refinitiv information, via stay roughly 40% decrease than they have been in March 2020 when a lot of the U.S. economic system shutdown through the early phases of the coronavirus pandemic.



In a single signal of rising nervousness, buyers despatched roughly $33 billion into money-market funds the week that ended Sept. 29. That transfer to money pushed the overall property of the $3.9 trillion cash market trade to its highest ranges since June, based on information from the Funding Firm Institute.

Reuters Graphics

Reporting by David Randall, Saqib Iqbal Ahmed and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Further reporting by Stephen Culp; Modifying by Megan Davies and Lisa Shumaker


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