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U.S. Treasury says record FDIC cash draw won't affect debt ceiling 'X-date'

Published 03/14/2023, 11:38 AM
Updated 03/14/2023, 03:51 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Signs explaining Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and other banking policies are shown on the counter of a bank in Westminster, Colorado November 3, 2009.  REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

(Reuters) -The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp said its withdrawal of a record $40 billion in U.S. Treasury Funds on Friday as it seized control of Silicon Valley Bank will not affect when the Treasury runs out of operating room under the debt ceiling.

The FDIC withdrawal from the Treasury General Account was many times larger than any previous largest draws, according to data from the Daily Treasury Statement for March 10 released late on Monday.

Combined with about $13 billion of other federal agency withdrawals on Friday, that left Treasury with just over $208 billion in operating funds at the TGA, which is held at the Federal Reserve. That was down by more than $100 billion from Wednesday's TGA balance, reported by the Fed on Thursday.

The FDIC took control of SVB Financial and on Sunday guaranteed both insured and uninsured deposits at the institution to shore up confidence in the banking system. The same protection were offered to New York's Signature Bank (NASDAQ:SBNY), which failed on Sunday, and the Federal Reserve opened a new facility to give banks access to emergency funds.

"The actions we have taken to protect depositors and the stability of the banking system have not affected the X-date for the debt limit," a U.S. Treasury spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Reuters, using a common Washington term for the date when the Treasury would no longer be able to pay all of the government's bills without a debt ceiling increase.

The Treasury has never issued a specific forecast for the X-date. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in January notified Congress notified Congress that it was "unlikely" that the Treasury's cash and extraordinary measures will be exhausted before early June, urging lawmakers to promptly increase the debt limit.

The Treasury has not altered that early June estimate, but Yellen has acknowledged that April tax receipts "will be informative" on the timing of the X-date.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the Treasury could hold out until sometime between July and September without a debt ceiling increase, but the timing was uncertain due to the pace of revenues and economic developments.

Wrightson ICAP (LON:NXGN) analysts said in a research note that if the Treasury is unable to replace the FDIC funds, the outflow "would significantly increase the risk that the 'X-date' might arrive in June rather than July."

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A sign reads “FDIC Insured” on the door of a branch of First Republic Bank in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., March 13, 2023.     REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

The FDIC withdrawal came the same day that Yellen warned members of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives that a failure to lift the ceiling that results in a U.S. default would cause "economic and financial collapse."

Also on Friday, the hardline House Freedom Caucus of congressional Republicans presented a list of demands in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, including a near-freeze on discretionary spending, ending student debt relief and COVID-19 relief programs, and rescinding $80 billion in funding for the Internal Revenue Service enacted last year.

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