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U.S. financial stability group discusses debt ceiling, shutdown

By Emily Stephenson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. financial regulators discussed the federal debt ceiling and the effect of the government shutdown on market monitoring during a phone conversation on Tuesday, a Treasury Department spokesman said.

The Financial Stability Oversight Council might meet again as October 17 approaches. That is the date on which Treasury expects to exhaust its borrowing authority, spokesman Anthony Coley said in a statement.

The council, a group of regulators led by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, is charged with overseeing financial system stability.

The U.S. Congress has so far failed to strike a deal to raise the government's borrowing cap. Treasury officials have said hitting that limit and defaulting on government obligations could cause lasting damage to the United States' international reputation.

The group also discussed the effect of the week-old federal government shutdown on market monitoring by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Most financial regulators are not funded by Congress and so have not been affected by the shutdown that began on October 1. The CFTC and SEC do get funding from congressional appropriations.

The SEC had enough funds on hand to stay open for a few weeks, the agency said last week.

But the CFTC had to send most of its employees home. That means hundreds of trillions of dollars in derivatives are changing hands on Wall Street without government supervision, a CFTC commissioner said on Tuesday.

"The cops aren't on the beat looking at the derivatives markets in the United States," Commissioner Bart Chilton said in a television interview.

(Reporting by Emily Stephenson; Editing by Karey Van Hall and Jim Loney)

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