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Citi gauges the risk of rapid rate rises

As Euromoney sits down with Michael Corbat and Jamie Forese, US treasury bond markets are in the grip of a summer sell-off spreading uncertainty and fear across Wall Street.

For a read on the world’s most important economy and the likely path of the risk-free rate that prices all other assets, Euromoney can’t pass up the chance to grill the head of one of the biggest banks in the US and the head of its investment bank, who first cut his teeth in the great Salomon Brothers bond trading machine.

Corbat says: "The US economy is recovering, but that recovery, which will be led by the consumer, is still fragile. It looks as if there is now a floor under house prices, and financial markets have performed well up to now, which help consumer confidence. But the real challenge is on the jobs front, and the Fed is really signalling the importance of job creation and a 6.5% unemployment rate as its target.

"Why do corporations seem to lack confidence to invest in capacity and jobs? When you talk to corporate leaders in the US, they would very much like to see coherence around tax reform, energy policy and, more of an issue for smaller companies, around healthcare costs."

Corbat seems to be painting an optimistic prospect. "And when you look at the market technicals away from possible tapering of QE, you see banks having been through a massive deleveraging are not going to be the big borrowers they once were.

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