Citi’s Fraser warns U.S. debt ceiling debate has serious consequences

BEVERLY HILLS (Reuters) – Citigroup chief executive officer Jane Fraser said on Monday that debate about the debt ceiling in the United States had serious consequences even as the investing world breathes a sigh of relief that an ailing bank was rescued by a bigger competitor the same day.

The debt ceiling turmoil is “more worrying” than previous events, Fraser said at the Milken Institute Global Conference.

She said however that Wall Street executives are not picking up the phone to call Washington to tell politicians how to behave in solving the issue, after Congress last week narrowly passed a bill to raise the U.S. debt ceiling.

Executives were speaking about topics ranging from the rescue of First Republic Bank by JP Morgan Chase to how quickly the Federal Reserve may still have to raise interest rates at a time when the U.S. economy is showing signs of being more resilient.

Facing uncertainty, Fraser stopped short of saying there is a world financial crisis but she said the stress will be there and will be targeted in certain sectors. She also said that she expected a lot of people to make a lot of money.

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Carolina Mandl; Editing by Hugh Lawson)