Scoreboard: Shut, cut, run

The effect of the shutdown is being felt on Wall Street where stocks were hit hard as investors seek haven away from US assets.

Still no progress on the US government shutdown it seems, but the sense of alarm is growing and policymakers are doing their best to ensure that it does exactly that – as I highlighted yesterday. Joining the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve though, we had the International Monetary Fund doing its bit for the cause overnight, highlighting the damage it could do to the whole world, while the US Treasury itself suggested the consequences could be catastrophic – worse than the financial crisis of 2008. This follows comments from the US Treasury secretary that there is a “false sense of complacency about this”, and President Obama himself is telling anyone who’ll listen that investors should be alarmed: “I think this time’s different … I think they should be concerned”, he said.

The message is loud and clear: policymakers want you to worry, they want panic. And they don’t want panic just in the US – they want it to be global. Maybe not? Well, it certainly seems that way with their comments.

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