Welcome to the Financial Times Lexicon

Browse thousands of words and phrases selected by Financial Times editors and suggest new terms for the glossary.

 

Term of the day

debt ceiling

The maximum amount of debt that a person or entity is permitted to run up.

 

The US debt ceiling explained

The US debt ceiling.  The ceiling was originally established during the first world war to allow the US government to raise money without getting approval for each borrowing. Brinkmanship over lifting the debt ceiling brought the US to the edge of sovereign default in 2011, prompting an unprecedented ratings downgrade on the US's debt by Standard & Poor's. By the beginning of 2013 the debt...