Big Debt Plus Rising Interest Rates = Big Danger

by Doug French

If there is anything Wall Street banks crave is relief. Primarily relief from the potential for failure and, next, relief from holding much, if any, equity capital. These banks like their capital tiny and their profits huge. Losses should be socialized. After all, we want the ATMs to keep spitting out cash.

The SLR will be allowed to expire at the end of this month before most of us knew what it was—”supplementary leverage ratio.” When covid hit the fan last March, as the WSJ explains, “The ratio measures capital—funds that banks raise from investors, earn through profits and use to absorb losses—as a percentage of loans and other assets. Without the exclusion, Treasurys and deposits count as assets [not equity].”

No SLR means less leverage and lower profits for the big banks. But, the Federal Reserve must be careful, the yield on the US ten-year note has exploded to 1.72 percent.

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