Boy are things getting ugly in the U.K. The British currency, the pound, is getting crushed. The price of long-term British debt securities, called gilts, is heading down. And the cost of default insurance on the country’s debt is rising steadily.
My takeaway: This is but a preview of what’s to come here in the U.S.
Why the Crisis Is Coming
To a Head in the U.K.
Britain’s finances are in shambles. The country’s budget deficit is running at more than 12 percent of gross domestic product, roughly the same as in Greece. In fact, for the first time, the country recorded a whopping $6.7 billion deficit in January … much worse than the $3.9 billion SURPLUS economists were expecting.
The U.K. government is planning to sell $349 billion in debt this year, the most ever, to cover its deficit. But demand is flagging, with foreign investors dumping the most U.K. sovereign debt in nine months in January and yields generally rising.
Then a few days ago, the crisis came to a head. The catalyst: New polling data that threw the British political outlook into chaos. Polls showed that the Conservative Party’s lead over the Labour Party shrunk to its lowest level in more than two years.
It now appears that neither party could come out of spring elections with a clear majority, leaving the U.K. with a “hung” parliament. That would make it much more difficult for the government to reduce the nation’s debts and deficits. FULL STORY