NEW YORK (Reuters) – Global banks are preparing for the possibility that there will be no clear victor on the night of the U.S. presidential election, a scenario that could spark days or weeks of chaos in global equities and fixed income markets, several bankers said.

Over the past two weeks, major banks have run simulations to ensure they could cope with a spike in market, liquidity and credit risks, and have been advising clients on precautionary hedges and capital raising strategies if a contested election result on Nov. 3 leads funding markets to dry up.

Reuters/Ipsos polls show the contest tightening, with Democratic candidate Joe Biden holding a slim lead over President Donald Trump in three highly competitive states, while three other battlegrounds show a dead heat. A surge in postal ballots driven by pandemic fears is expected to delay some results.

“We’re starting to talk not just to clients, but also to our staff, about the potential that you might see a longer than expected period (with no clear result) because of the large number of mail-in votes,” said Itay Tuchman, Citigroup’s

global head of FX. “We’re getting prepared for that.”

If the winner is too close to call, a legal battle and even a constitutional crisis could ensue, say bank strategists. Trump last week said he expects the result to be settled by the Supreme Court. Tuesday’s unruly first televised presidential debate has added to the uncertainty.

“If there is a constitutional crisis, we believe that the loss of political credibility and standing of the United States as a stable country could threaten its status as a safe haven with unfathomable consequences for the economy and for markets,” BNP Paribas’

Head of Macro Strategy Daniel Ahn said.


and Goldman Sachs

also flagged the risk of a