Millennial markets: Nothing to fear but fear itself

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Credit and swap spreads have already risen in anticipation of the world's financial markets clamming shut this December. Borrowers and bankers talk nervously about the disappearance of liquidity and short-term funding in the run-up to year 2000. Central banks are on standby. So are some traders who hope to take advantage of illiquidity and mispricing. The frustration for many is that it is their own contingency plans, not their computers, that threaten chaos. But no-one knows how fierce the full millennium effect will be. Marcus Walker reports