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The US Banking Continues to be Fragile

During October 2023, USA's total debt increased by over $500 Bn compared to the previous month with the interest rate crossing above 3%. Even the Federal Reserve Bank breached the $100 Bn loss mark in September 2023. All this has been created to sustain growth along with trying to control inflation.

As this took place the banking system has taken a beating. The first shock came in March 2023 when Silicon Valley Bank shut down. This resulted in the Federal Reserve starting the Banking Term Funding Program (BTFP) which is still being used by banks amounting to $114Bn.

This usage helps to manage the financial stability risk as 44 banks are still listed as problem banks by the Federal Reserve. Though this number is sufficiently low from 2017-18 majority of these banks are medium-sized sized exposed to commercial real estate.

During Q3 2023, US banks unrealised losses increased to $684 Bn compared to $558 Bn during the previous quarter. This has not resulted in a major crisis for now as the reverse repo and BTFP are assisting in liquidity.

But as we approach March 2024, the BTFP is set to expire and reverse repo that is already reducing fast might be below $500 Bn compared to $800 Bn as of now. This would substantially reduce the system's ability to absorb any shocks that might happen due to inflation or other factors.


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