Will Russian Sanctions Lead China to Sell US Debt?

Will Russian Sanctions Lead China to Sell US Debt?

March 07, 2022

Russia's invasion of Ukraine led western nations to impose the most draconian economic sanctions in the modern era.  The Russian stock and bond markets have collapsed, along with Russia's currency, the ruble.

Many investors fear that China, which has always wanted control of Taiwan, will use the mayhem of the moment to take it.  Obviously, this would create even more uncertainty and mayhem, but China is more involved in global finance than Russia.  The West's response to Russia has not gone unnoticed, but many fear that even if China doesn't invade, it may preemptively sell its roughly $1.1 trillion in US government debt to avoid financial retaliation.  The fear is that this will cause US interest rates to soar and the US economy to suffer.

We think this fear is unwarranted. Yes, inflation and Fed tightening are likely to push up rates in the next few years.  This is what the markets should focus on, not a Chinese sell-off of US Treasury debt, which would have little impact.