Now that all auctions from last week have settled, the real debt picture has emerged: as of February 28, total US debt was $14,194,764,339,462.64 (a settlement change of $57 billion on the day alone). As a reminder, the total debt limit is $14.24 trillion, or $100 billion away. Purists will interject that the total debt includes $52 billion in debt that is not subject to the debt limit, so in reality the total remaining capacity is $151 billion, although should total debt pass the ceiling, with or without the technicality, it will be pretty much game over. What is quite relevant is that the winddown of the SLF program is halfway completed, as otherwise the US would be in breach of the debt ceiling right now. Since there is another $95 billion outstanding on the SLF, which with the lack of any Treasury auctions in the coming week, has allowed the Treasury to issue an updated debt limit breach projection:"Today, Mary Miller, Assistant Secretary for Financial Markets at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, issued the following update regarding the projected dates by which the United States will reach the statutory debt limit: “The Treasury Department now estimates that the United States will reach the debt limit between April 15, 2011 and May 31, 2011." Previously the projected breach range was expected to occur 10 days earlier. In other words, the Treasury is once again panicking, and sending the ball over to the Hill, to make sure politicians add another $1.5 trillion to the debt ceiling, which however, with $2 trillion in total issuance in 2011 will need to be raised just after the end of the new year.
And should Congress not cooperate, here is a list we have compiled previously on many occassions (and which will come back to haunt us again and again), this time coming from Reuters, highlighting all the different options before the Treasury to delay the inevitable debt target, er, ceiling breach.
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