From an opinion piece by Greg Ip in the Washington Post:

Yes, default is unlikely. But it is no longer unthinkable. Thanks to the advent of credit derivatives — financial contracts that allow investors to speculate on or protect against default — we can now observe how likely global markets think it is that Uncle Sam will renege on America’s mounting debts. Last week, markets pegged the probability of a U.S. default at 6 percent over the next 10 years, compared with just 1 percent a year ago.

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