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Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

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S&P Global Warns That A U.S. Default Would Wreak Havoc On Global Energy Markets

  • As the standoff over raising the debt ceiling continues, the United States is potentially days away from running out of cash and defaulting on its debt.
  • S&P Global Commodity Insights has warned that a U.S. debt default would wreak havoc on global energy markets by driving demand down.
  • This is not the first time the debt ceiling has been used by politicians as a bargaining chip, and S&P Global believes the chance of a default is slim.

A debt default by the U.S. federal government would shake up the global energy market, S&P Global Commodity Insights has warned, adding, however, that the chance of that happening was a slim one.

Congress is at an impasse about the debt ceiling and recent talks between President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy ended with no agreement on lifting the borrowing limit.

In truth, the default alarm gets sounded every time Congress debates the debt ceiling, and so far legislators have invariably been able to avoid a default. Should this change, it would lead to a severe recession, which would in turn affect energy demand, according to the president of S&P Global Insights who spoke to The National.

“I think markets generally believe at this point that at the last minute either a deal will get worked out or the administration will find technical ways to get around the congressional approval they need to be able to service the debt,” Saugata Saha told the Emirati daily.

If this does not happen, “It will likely lead to severe recessions, which again will have an impact on energy consumption and demand,” Saha also told The National.

According to finance officials, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the U.S. federal government will run out of money by the beginning of next month, which means time on a deal is running out.

Democrats insist that Congress passes a higher debt ceiling with no changes in spending while Republicans insist on spending cuts claiming current levels are unsustainable.

The debate is already affecting oil prices as fears of a default grow. However, if a deal gets clinched at the last moment or legislators find another way to raise the ceiling, oil prices will likely move higher in the absence of other bearish factors.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com


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  • Mamdouh Salameh on May 24 2023 said:
    The truth of the matter is that a deal on lifting the debt ceiling will be reached at the last minute thus avoiding a default by the United States.

    However, the claim that a US default could wreak havoc on global energy markets by driving demand down is pure nonsense. Why should it be?

    Countries needing to satisfy their oil and energy demand could pay in petro-yuan, ruble, Indian rupee, Saudi riyal or UAE dirham or even barter trade.

    The dollar is fast losing its dominance as an oil currency and the impact of US oil demand is becoming less important to global oil demand.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Global Energy Expert
  • Brian McGinity on May 24 2023 said:
    The debt ceiling is a dog and pony show. Each party will take the opportunity to rant about how bad the other is and then each will get a blank check for unlimited spending. Inflation will tick up and gas prices will be blamed.

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