Updated April 20th, 2024 at 18:17 IST

Fed survey cites inflation, US election as key financial stability risks

Geopolitical tensions in regions like the Middle East and Ukraine, alongside the US political landscape, also added uncertainties.

Reported by: Business Desk
Representative | Image:Shutterstock

Fed's Stability Assessment: In the Federal Reserve's latest assessment of financial stability, concerns over persistent inflation and the potential impacts of the upcoming 2024 US presidential election have been highlighted as key risks. According to the semi-annual survey conducted by the Fed, market participants and other contacts expressed worries about inflationary pressures and the likelihood of prolonged higher interest rates. 

Geopolitical tensions, particularly in regions such as the Middle East and Ukraine, also contributed to uncertainties, alongside the political landscape in the United States.


Limited financial risks

The survey, released as part of the Fed's Financial Stability Report, indicates ongoing monitoring of various economic indicators to identify potential areas of concern. Despite the Fed's previous efforts to combat inflation through aggressive interest rate hikes, the report suggests limited evidence of widespread risks to the financial system, although borrowing costs remain elevated.

While concerns persist regarding the need for an economic slowdown to curb inflation, the report highlights the resilience of household and business balance sheets, stability in the banking sector, and the absence of imminent financial bubbles. Interviews conducted through March revealed uncertainty surrounding monetary policy and inflation expectations, particularly in light of global geopolitical tensions and domestic political dynamics.


Household stress signs

Although certain areas, such as commercial real estate values and leverage amongst larger hedge funds, raise concerns, overall financial stability indicators remain largely steady. While stock and real estate values are high, there are signs of stress amongst some households, including rising consumer debt delinquencies. However, these concerns are not seen as widespread.

The report underscores the soundness and resilience of the banking system, with strong capital and liquidity levels. While credit conditions may have tightened for small firms, the overall availability of financing remains relatively stable, with a low number of firms reporting shortages.

While inflation and geopolitical tensions pose risks to financial stability, the overall assessment suggests a steady and resilient financial system, supported by strong fundamentals and prudent risk management measures.

(With Reuters Inputs)


Published April 20th, 2024 at 18:17 IST