Friday, October 4th 2013 - 07:02 UTC

IMF warns US debt ceiling controversy is a far worse threat to global economy

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde says failure to raise the US debt ceiling would be a far worse threat to the global economy than the current shutdown. The shutdown is due to a budget standoff between President Barack Obama and Congress. But a worse problem looms: the US will run out of money if there is no agreement to raise the borrowing limit.

On 17 October, the US government will run out of cash to pay its bills - unless the debt ceiling is raised.

Lagarde’s speech was on looking ahead to a decade of challenges for the world economy

Ms Lagarde's comments were echoed by the US Treasury. It says a debt default could lead to a financial crisis as bad as 2008 or worse. Obama emphasised that gloomy message in a separate speech on Thursday.

“As reckless as a government shutdown is, as many people as are being hurt by a government shutdown an economic shutdown that results from default would be dramatically worse,” he said.

Mr Obama and congressional leaders have been in political deadlock for days, which has had the effect of freezing non-essential US government functions.

The US government closed non-essential operations on Tuesday after Congress failed to strike a deal on a new budget. The shutdown has left more than 800,000 employees on unpaid leave and closed national parks, tourist sites, government websites, office buildings, and more.

For US economic watchers, a widely tracked indicator - the monthly US jobs report - has been delayed due to the shutdown, it was announced on Thursday.

However, while this budget crisis rages in Washington DC, another, more dangerous, one looms in the coming weeks. On 17 October, the US government will run out of cash to pay its bills - unless the debt ceiling is raised.

In a speech looking ahead to a decade of challenges for the world economy, Ms Lagarde said that the US government needed to fix its finances for the long term. She said it was “mission critical” that the US agrees a new debt ceiling.

But as she has often said before, there should not be too much change in the short term because that could undermine the economic recovery. On the prospects for the world economy in general terms Ms Lagarde was cautiously positive.

She added that, although the global economic outlook remained subdued, there were signs that growth was looking up and financial stability returning.

She said not only was the US picking up steam, but the Euro-zone was too, with a growth forecast of 1% next year. Even Japan, she said, was beginning to improve - albeit all three areas needed to make policy changes.

The IMF latest economic forecasts will be released in a few days and will give a more detailed view of global economic health and prospects.

To ensure that the shutdown impasse does not bleed into negotiations over the debt ceiling, Mr Obama used his speech to call on the speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, to bring a spending bill to a vote.

“Take a vote, stop this farce, and end this shutdown right now,” implored Mr Obama, speaking from the floor of a construction business that has been hurt by the shutdown.

Mr Obama added that in his view, unlike budget battles of the past, the shutdown was not about ideological differences relating to how much the federal government should be spending - noting deficits have been falling at their fastest pace in 60 years.

“This not about spending and this is not about fiscal responsibility, this whole thing is about one thing: the Republican obsession with dismantling the Affordable Care Act,” he said, citing his signature domestic legislative achievement, which expands health care coverage for millions of Americans.

In its report, the US Treasury warned: “A default would be unprecedented and has the potential to be catastrophic.”

“Credit markets could freeze, the value of the dollar could plummet, US interest rates could skyrocket, the negative spillovers could reverberate around the world, and there might be a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse.”

The report said that if this were to happen, the impact could last for “more than a generation”. Already, the cost of US borrowing in the short term has increased.

Essentially, the US government is paying less to borrow for six months than it is paying to borrow for one month - an indication that investors are worried about the near-term prospects of a US debt default on 17 October, which would put the security of one-month Treasury bonds in doubt.

Some bank analysts have termed the next month the “debt ceiling danger zone”. According to Goldman Sachs, it could shave as much as 0.2% from GDP each week the government is closed.

6 comments Feed

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1 The Truth PaTroll (#) Oct 05th, 2013 - 01:07 pm Report abuse
Museums shut down
National Parks closed
Veteran hospitals lacking supplies
no funds to plant grass in the capital city
shootouts between criminals and police around congress buildings
communism more popular than the elected leaders
venal and completely corrupt judiciary
ineffective and useless political system
country at risk of default
people setting themselves on FIRE in the capital city

Isn't that the definition of a 4th world country???

2 Gonzo22 (#) Oct 05th, 2013 - 03:14 pm Report abuse
Man, this makes me feel so American, I'm going to listen to San Francisco in the voice of the lovely Jeanette MacDonald.
3 Fido Dido (#) Oct 05th, 2013 - 04:27 pm Report abuse
“Isn't that the definition of a 4th world country???”

Yup, it is, but life goes on...

“Man, this makes me feel so American, I'm going to listen to San Francisco in the voice of the lovely Jeanette MacDonald.”

You don't have to live in the United States nor listen to a clown in San Franciso to make you feel American.
4 The Truth PaTroll (#) Oct 05th, 2013 - 08:51 pm Report abuse
What a shock that the Americans and the other Anglos have gone MIA in this news article and to what I have so brutally but honestly laid out above.


Not a bad attitude to have. Realist but also pragmatist. Respect to you.
5 Captain Poppy (#) Oct 06th, 2013 - 12:14 am Report abuse
The federal government does not run the country morons. Suck mommas tits for some milk juice tobi. If you knew anything about the USA you would know it's a union of 50 independent states that operate regardless of the feds.
Your post in number one is a joke of nothing from someone that only knows the shit storms in the pile of nothing in Mendoza.
I can call the shit there I've been to Argentina often and recently as January and February. When have you unlatched you mothers nipples and been to the USA? North Amerrica? Europe? Buenos Aires? OUTSIDE OF MENDOZA?
Leave her nipples rest and get off the tit juice....grow up. All you southies are like ants crawling on ankles........When you see what you cannot have to loath it.
Now that Brazil is totally froze, industrially speaking, SA is doomed economically.
Yes....the Fed is closed, but the states do not depend on the feds like down there. Whats idiots. Have some mate, if you can tolerate it.
6 Gonzo22 (#) Oct 06th, 2013 - 01:33 am Report abuse
@5 You are a Chilean, why are you lying about your nationality?
7 Captain Poppy (#) Oct 06th, 2013 - 09:46 am Report abuse
And you are an asshole, why are to posting like a dickhead?

Dickhead....prove your ridiculous statement......send me an email to:

I can send you my IP where I am posting from. Ok dickhead? No balls.....means no email......I will assume no email.

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