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Are Investors Nervous About Lending To The U.S.?

Filed by KOSU News in Business.
July 25, 2011

The central news narrative of the weekend was that Congress and President Obama needed to cut a debt deal by Sunday night in order to avoid panic in the financial markets on Monday.

There was no deal this weekend, and there is no panic today.

There are signs of anxiety — notably gold’s rise to a new nominal high. But if investors were truly worried that the U.S. might not pay its debts, you’d expect yields on Treasuries to rise sharply.

That’s exactly what happened with government bond yields in parts of Europe when investors got nervous about governments there. Indeed, that’s the way credit always works: Lenders demand higher interest rates on loans on riskier loans.

But throughout the debt-ceiling debate, Treasury yields have remained low. If we see do see a sharp rise in Treasury yields this week, that would be a sign that investors are really starting to worry about the government paying its debts.

At the moment, though, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury is hovering near 3 percent. That means investors still trust the U.S. government enough to lend it money at very low interest rates. [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

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