- China’s Nuclear Option of Dumping US Bonds Would Cause Absolute Chaos in Global Markets – Expert
The ongoing tit-for-tat tariff exchange between China and the US could push Beijing to strike back with the so-called ‘nuclear option’ – dumping its vast holdings of US Treasury bonds.
While the move would be partly self-defeating for China, it would also have devastating consequences for global financial markets, Sourabh Gupta, a senior fellow at the Institute for China-America Studies in Washington told RT.
“In that case, there would be absolute chaos in global currency markets, and thereafter in global equity markets,” he said, adding that with regards to interest rates “after significant initial volatility, the effects would be somewhat muted.” The concern though is with financial market sentiment, not specifically interest rates, Gupta said.
China currently owns $1.13 trillion in US Treasuries. That’s a fraction of the total $22 trillion in US debt outstanding but 17.7 percent of the various securities held by foreign governments, according to data from the Treasury and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. Beijing has been pulling back from its role in the US bond market, having cut holdings nearly four percent over the past 12 months, but it still takes the top spot among America’s foreign creditors.
Gupta said that even if the trade conflict worsens abysmally, he doesn’t think Beijing will completely stop buying US debt. “There are better avenues for retaliation, such as government-juiced consumer boycotts of US goods. Until China fully internationalizes and hardens its currency, it simply cannot walk away from US debt markets… and doing so would be self-damaging,” he said.