UK Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned today, largely in the wake of a market meltdown in UK bonds (gilts) that followed the unveiling of her government’s tax and spending plan. You’ve read about the effects that plan had on markets and especially on UK pension funds here, here, and here. Now, analysts are considering whether or not a similar meltdown could happen in the United States. Jeanna Smialek, Jim Tankersley, and report for the NY Times:
The Bank of England had to swoop in to buy bonds and soothe markets after the British government released a fiscal spending plan that would have stimulated an economy already struggling with punishing inflation, one that included little detail on how it would be paid for. Markets lurched, and pension funds using a common investment strategy found themselves scrambling to adjust, prompting the central bank’s intervention.
While the shock was British-specific, the violent reaction has caused economists around the world to wonder if the situation was a canary in a coal mine as signs of financial stress surface around the globe.
Officials at the Fed, Treasury and White House are among those trying to figure out whether the United States could experience its own market-shuddering meltdown, one that could prove costly for households while complicating America’s battle against rapid inflation.
Administration officials remain confident that the U.S. financial system is unlikely to see such a shock and is strong enough to withstand one if it comes. But both they and the Fed are keeping close tabs on what is happening at a moment when conditions feel abnormally fragile.
Markets have been choppy for months in the United States and globally as central banks — including the Fed — rapidly raise interest rates to bring inflation under control. That has caused abnormally large price moves in currencies and other assets because their values hinge partly on the level of interest rates and on international rate differences. Stocks have been swinging. It can be hard to quickly find a buyer for U.S. government bonds, although the market is not breaking down. And in corners of finance that involve more complicated investment structures, there’s concern that volatility could trigger a dangerous chain reaction.
Action Line: Prepare your family. Whether or not markets fall apart, you want to prepare yourself with a plan and stick to it. In the meantime, click here to subscribe to my free monthly Survive & Thrive letter, and you’ll learn more about me and how I help American families improve their personal and financial security.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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