WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump's finance minister called leading US bankers on Sunday in the midst of a continuing flight on Wall Street, planning to convene a group of officials known as the Plunge Protection Team.
US equities have fallen sharply in recent weeks amid concerns of slowing economic growth. The S & P 500 index .SPX is on track for its largest percentage decline in December since the Great Depression.
"I have one-to-one interviews today with the CEOs of the country's six largest banks," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Twitter just before the Asian financial markets opened.
US stock index futures fell late on Sunday as e-commerce began another week of shortened vacations. In early trading, the E-mini futures contract ESv1 of the benchmark S & P 500 had fallen by around a quarter percent.
The Ministry of Finance said in a statement that Mnuchin is in contact with the senior executives of Bank of America (BAC.N), Citi (C.n), Goldman Sachs (GS.N), JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N), Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and Wells Fargo (WFC.N).
"The CEOs have confirmed that they have enough liquidity to lend," said the Treasury.
Mnuchin "also confirmed that there were no issues with the release or margin and that the markets continue to function properly," said the Treasury.
Muchinin's talks with the bankers came before a partial government shutdown on Saturday after a deadlock in Congress over Trump's call for more money for a wall on the Mexican border. Financing of about a quarter of the federal government's programs ended at midnight on Friday and the closure could last until 3 January.
The Ministry of Finance said Mnuchin will convene an appeal on Monday with the Presidential Working Group on Financial Markets, which also includes Washington's chief executive of the US financial system, sometimes referred to as the "Plunge Protection Team".
The group, convened in 2009 in the final stages of the financial crisis, includes Federal Reserve officials and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Wall Street is also following closely the reports that Trump has privately discussed the possibility of shooting the President of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell. Mnuchin said on Saturday that Trump had told him that he had "never suggested shooting Powell".
Trump has criticized the US Federal Reserve this year for raising interest rates, which could further slow economic growth. Fed independence is seen as a pillar of the US financial system.
Mnuchin's claims are due to a number of asset classes that have suffered significant losses.
In December alone, the S & P 500 .SPX fell by nearly 12.5 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC slumped by 13.6 percent. The Nasdaq is now in a bear market, having fallen nearly 22 percent from its record high at the end of August, and the S & P is not far off.
Corporate credit markets have also come under pressure, and the investment grade corporate bond market is the worst year since the 2008 financial crisis.
The high-yield bond market, which capitalizes on companies with the weakest credit profile, has not made a deal the whole month. The last time was in November 2008.
Reporting by Jason Lange; Additional reporting by Dan Burns; Editing by Dan Grebler and Rosalba O & # 39; Brien