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Nashrah Ahmed, Alain Chaboud, Dobrislav Dobrev, Joseph Fiorica, Michael Fleming, Frank Keane, Michael McMorrow, Suraj Prasanna, Ernst Schaumburg, Nathaniel Wuerffel, and Ron Yang
The $12.7 trillion U.S. Treasury market plays a critical role in the global economy, serving as the primary means of financing the U.S. government, a risk-free benchmark for other financial instruments, and a key venue for the Federal Reserve’s implementation of monetary policy. On October 15, 2014, the market experienced unusually high volatility, record trading volume, and a rapid “round-trip” in prices without a clear cause. In a recently released report, staff of the U.S. Treasury, the Federal Reserve Board, the New York Fed, the SEC, and the CFTC examine the events of that day. This preliminary report provides the most thorough analysis to date of the events that day and serves as a foundation for future analysis of Treasury market functioning and structure.
Nina Boyarchenko, Thomas Eisenbach, and Or Shachar
In a previous post, “Mapping and Sizing the U.S. Repo Market,” our colleagues described the structure of the U.S. repurchase agreement (repo) market. In this post, we consider whether recent regulatory changes have changed the behavior of securities broker-dealers, who play a significant role in repo markets. We focus on the General Collateral Finance (GCF) Repo market, an interdealer market primarily using U.S. Treasury and agency securities as collateral. We find that some dealers use GCF Repo as a substantial source of funding for their inventories, while others primarily use GCF Repo to fine-tune their repo positions. Recent regulatory changes, such as the supplementary leverage ratio (SLR), may be contributing to reduced lending in the GCF Repo market.
In our previous post, we concluded that, in rating agencies’ views, there is no clear consensus on whether the Dodd-Frank Act has eliminated “too-big-to-fail” in the United States. Today, we discuss whether bond market participants share these views.
As we discussed in our post on Monday, the Dodd-Frank Act includes provisions to address whether banks remain “too big to fail.” Title II of the Act creates an orderly liquidation mechanism for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to resolve failed systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs). In December 2013, the FDIC outlined a “single point of entry” (SPOE) strategy for resolving failing SIFIs that, in principle, should obviate bailouts. Under the SPOE, the FDIC will be appointed receiver of the top-tier parent holding company, and losses of a subsidiary bank will be assigned to shareholders and unsecured creditors of the holding company (in a “bail-in” arrangement). The company may be restructured by shrinking businesses, breaking it into smaller entities, liquidating assets, or closing operations to ensure that the resulting entities can be resolved in bankruptcy. Crucially, during this process, the healthy subsidiaries of the company, including any banks, will maintain normal operation, thus avoiding the need for bailouts to prevent systemic instability.
Recent news and market analysis has featured a spate of warnings about diminished liquidity in the U.S. Treasury market and reminders of how quickly markets can seize. It’s a topic we’ve addressed on our blog with an investigation of the bond market sell-off of 2013.
The rise in oil prices from near $30 per barrel in 2000 to around $110 per barrel in mid-2014 was a dramatic reallocation of global income to oil producers. So what did oil producers do with this bounty? Trade data show that they spent about half of the increase in total export revenues on imports and the other half to buy foreign assets. The drop in oil prices will unwind this process. Oil-importing countries will gain from lower oil bills, but they will also see a decline in their exports to oil-producing countries and in purchases of their assets by investors in these countries. Indeed, one can make the case that the drop in oil prices, by itself, is putting upward pressure on interest rates as income shifts away from countries that have had a relatively high propensity to save.
Oil prices have declined substantially since the summer of 2014. If these price declines reflect demand shocks, then this would suggest a slowdown in global economic activity. Alternatively, if the declines are driven by supply shocks, then the drop in prices might indicate a forthcoming boost in spending as firms and households benefit from lower energy costs. In this post, we use correlations of oil price changes with a broad array of financial variables to confirm that this recent fall in oil prices has been mostly the result of increased global oil supply. We then use a model to assess how this supply shock will affect U.S. economic conditions in 2015.
Valentin Haddad, Erik Loualiche, and Matthew Plosser
Buyout activity by financial investors fluctuates substantially over time. In the United States, peak years result in close to one hundred public-to-private buyout transactions and trough years in as few as ten. The typical buyout is primarily funded by debt, hence the term “leveraged buyout” (or LBO). As a result, analysis of buyout fluctuations has focused on the availability and cost of debt financing. However, in a recent staff report, we find that the overall cost of capital, rather than debt alone, is the primary driver of buyout activity. We argue that it is the common changes in both the cost of debt and the cost of equity—the aggregate risk premium—that are the source of booms and busts in buyout activity.
In February, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s trading desk announced it will publish a new overnight bank funding rate early next year. The new rate will be based on both federal funds and Eurodollar transactions reported in a new data collection—the FR 2420 Report of Selected Money Market Rates. In a previous post, we explained how FR 2420 fed funds transaction data will replace brokered data as the base for the fed funds effective rate. This post provides insights on the Eurodollar market in advance of the publication of the overnight bank funding rate.
Marco Del Negro, Marc Giannoni, Matthew Cocci, Sara Shahanaghi, and Micah Smith
Second post in the series
In a recent series of blog posts, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve System, Ben Bernanke, has asked the question: “Why are interest rates so low?” (See part 1, part 2, and part 3.) He refers, of course, to the fact that the U.S. government is able to borrow at an annualized rate of around 2 percent for ten years, or around 3 percent for thirty years. If you expect that inflation is going to be on average 2 percent over the next ten or thirty years, this implies that the U.S. government can borrow at real rates of interest between 0 and 1 percent at the ten- and thirty-year maturities. This phenomenon is by no means limited to the United States. Governments in Japan and Germany are able to borrow for ten years at nominal rates below 1 percent, and the ten-year yield on Swiss government debt is slightly negative. Why is that?
In our earlier post, we described how the tri-party repo arrangement was a clever way to reduce the costs and risks that individual firms faced when settling bilateral repos. In this post, we explain how the efficiencies created by this new arrangement facilitated the growth of the repo market by expanding the class of securities to be used as collateral. This expansion had benefits as well as costs. On the positive side, it led to lower interest costs for a wide variety of borrowers in the real economy. But on the negative side, tri-party repos backed by riskier assets increase the risk of fire sales, which can have negative spillovers on the broader financial system.
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