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大预测:美国债务上限危机的4个恐怖情形

Stephen Gandel 2013年10月09日

美国债务违约可能会引发一系列灾难性的后果,甚至可能导致美国金融系统彻底崩盘。而这场危机到底会如何展开?4种情形最有可能出现。

    过去,政府官员总是将安抚市场视为己任。不过,这都是过去的事了。上周,美国总统奥巴马和美国财长雅各布•卢均表示,他们认为华尔街对美国债务上限违约的畏惧之心还不够。

    目前,大多数华尔街人士看起来仍然赌定围绕债务上限最终将达成一项交易。但在一些交易席位,违约的可能性正在开始渗入。没人知道违约意味着什么,但每个人都知道结果会很糟糕。

    交易员认为违约可能导致美国金融体系大坍塌,或者至少造成灾难性场面,下面是这场危机可能的演变方式。

    Government officials used to see it as part of their job to calm the markets. Not anymore. Last week, President Obama and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew both said they thought Wall Street wasn't freaking out enough about the possibility of a debt ceiling default.

    Right now, most of Wall Street appears to be betting that a deal will get done. But on some trading desks, the possibility of a default is starting to sink in. No one knows what it means, but everyone agrees it would be bad.

    Here are some of the ways traders think a default could result in a total collapse of our financial system, or at least a disastrous scenario.

    热狗困境

    普遍认识是,如果美国政府违约,它将在10月末债务到期时违约。但这可不一定。一些交易员因此十分担忧。为什么?情形和热狗一样。

    加拿大皇家银行资本市场(RBC Capital markets)的策略师们在上周发布的报告中称,华尔街的交易系统设计无法将违约的美国国债与其他债券区分开来。这就是华尔街人士所谓的热狗困境:热狗里的香肠即便只有一小块肉是臭的,你也不会吃了。

    “当初市场设立时,根本没人想过美国国债违约的可能,”RBC美国利率策略主管迈克尔•克洛赫蒂表示。

    我们在这次金融危机的早期就曾经遇到过这样的问题。当时虽然违约的住房贷款数量相对很少,还是没人想要按揭债券。这种有毒的债券被绞碎,混入不同债券。然后,这些债券也被绞碎,塞进其他的债券。

    对于以避险投资者为主的美国国债市场,这个问题会更糟。担心可能卷入违约债券会让很多避险投资者逃离这个市场。美国债券价格将出现暴跌。克洛赫蒂说:“这种情况会非常、非常糟糕。” 

    The hot dog dilemma

    The general consensus is that if the government defaults it will be on debt coming due in late October. But not necessarily. And that has some traders concerned. Why? Hot dogs.

    Strategists at RBC Capital markets, in a report last week, said Wall Street's trading systems are not set up to sort out defaulted Treasury bonds from the rest. This is what Wall Streeters call the hot dog dilemma: Even if a small portion of the meat going into a frank is funky, you won't eat it.

    "When markets were set up, no one really ever contemplated the Treasury defaulting," says Michael Cloherty, who is the head of U.S. rates strategy at RBC.

    We ran into this problem in the early days of the financial crisis. Even though relatively few home loans had defaulted, no one wanted mortgage bonds. The toxic debt had been ground up and mixed into various bonds. And those bonds had been ground up and stuffed into other bonds.

    The problem could be worse in the Treasury market, which is generally made up of risk-averse investors. The fear of being stuck with a defaulted bond might cause many of those investors to run from the market altogether. U.S. debt prices would plunge. "It could be really, really bad," says Cloherty.

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