In a last-minute effort, Washington managed to avert a crisis by reaching a deal to lift the debt ceiling. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that this agreement will reduce the budget deficit by approximately USD 69 billion in the upcoming fiscal year, amounting to less than 0.3% of GDP. While concerns have emerged regarding the potential negative impact on the economy due to a cap on federal spending, there are several factors that can help mitigate such effects.
As the debt ceiling deal passes, markets experience a sigh of relief, leading to a drop in short-term Treasury bill yields. With the Treasury's cash account replenished, the focus now shifts to the potential risks and opportunities that lie ahead for the markets.
Following the successful debt ceiling deal, investors reacted positively, resulting in a drop in the yields of short-term Treasury bills. The yield on the 6 June 2023 T-bill, closest to the date when the Treasury projected a potential funding shortfall, declined from 7% a week ago to around 5%.
This decline reflects the collective relief felt by investors as the risk of a government payment default diminishes. The market is responding favorably to the resolution of the debt ceiling issue, alleviating immediate concerns and fostering a more stable investment environment.
Prior to the debt ceiling deal, the Treasury cash account had dwindled to USD 38 billion, prompting a need for replenishment. Now, with the debt ceiling lifted, the Treasury can embark on replenishing the cash account to a more comfortable level. It is expected to reach around USD 600-700 billion by the end of the year.
This renewed liquidity will allow the Treasury to finance the ongoing U.S. deficit while maintaining a solid cash reserve. Replenishing the cash account will contribute to market stability, ensuring the government's ability to meet its financial obligations.
While the debt ceiling deal provides short-term relief, potential risks still loom on the horizon. One key concern relates to the Federal Reserve's monetary policy and the possibility of more aggressive rate hikes.
The market previously anticipated a shift towards rate cuts; however, the Fed's credibility on inflation may necessitate a hike to maintain stability. Even if the Fed maintains its current policy stance, it is likely to convey a clear message to the markets, indicating the potential for future rate hikes.