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The meltdown in equity and credit markets is occurring while the yield curve (10-year U.S. Treasury yield minus two-year U.S. Treasury yield) is flattening in a dramatic way:

The yield curve is of great importance in the financial system due to the way that lending is conducted. Most creditors borrow short to lend long (i.e., take on short-dated liabilities and acquire long-dated assets), so when the yield curve inverts, it means that creditors are more incentivized to hold short-dated government paper than they are to lend out for duration. The implications of short-dated yields being higher than long-dated means it is also less risky to hold cash than it is to invest in risk assets (even with negative real yields) that sell off with weak economic activity.

By Antoni