On Friday the price of United States corporate debt fell as investors bet that credit conditions could deteriorate if key pandemic lending programs at the Federal Reserve are allowed to expire on December 31.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that some of the Fed’s stimulus programs, which have established the central bank as a lender of last resort to U.S. corporations and municipalities, should be allowed to expire and that the unused funds should be given to Congress to reallocate.
That puts Treasury at odds with the Fed, which who said earlier this week the programs should be extended. Markit’s high-yield credit-default swap index fell in price, a bearish signal, to 107.42% in Friday morning trade. The spread of Markit’s investment grade CDX widened to its highest since Nov. 4, also a bearish signal, last at 55.61 basis points.