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Over the last decade, the concept of “safe assets” has received increasing attention, from regulators and private market participants, as well as researchers. This attention has led to the uncovering of some important details and nuances of what makes an asset “safe” and why it matters. In this blog post, we provide a review of the different aspects of safe assets, discuss possible reasons why they may be beneficial for investors, and give concrete examples of what these assets are in practice.
Stefan Avdjiev, Leonardo Gambacorta, Linda S. Goldberg, and Stefano Schiaffi
International capital flows channel large volumes of funds across borders to both public and private sector borrowers. As they are critically important for economic growth and financial stability, understanding their main drivers is crucial for both policymakers and researchers. In this post, we explore the evolving impact of changes in U.S. monetary policy on global liquidity.
Viral V. Acharya, Michael J. Fleming, Warren B. Hrung, and Asani Sarkar
During the 2007-08 financial crisis, the Fed established lending facilities designed to improve market functioning by providing liquidity to nondepository financial institutions—the first lending targeted to this group since the 1930s. What was the financial condition of the dealers that borrowed from these facilities? Were they healthy institutions behaving opportunistically or were they genuinely distressed? In published research, we find that dealers in a weaker financial condition were more likely to participate than healthier ones and tended to borrow more. Our findings reinforce the importance of Bagehot’s principle that the lender-of-last resort should lend only against high-quality collateral and at a penalty rate so as to discourage unneeded or opportunistic borrowing.
Oil prices plunged 65 percent between July 2014 and December of the following year. During this period, the yield spread—the yield of a corporate bond minus the yield of a Treasury bond of the same maturity—of energy companies shot up, indicating increased credit risk. Surprisingly, the yield spread of non‑energy firms also rose even though many non‑energy firms might be expected to benefit from lower energy‑related costs. In this blog post, we examine this counterintuitive result. We find evidence of a liquidity spillover, whereby the bonds of more liquid non‑energy firms had to be sold to satisfy investors who withdrew from bond funds in response to falling energy prices.
How does monetary policy affect spending in the economy? The economic literature suggests two main channels of monetary transmission: the money or interest rate channel and the bank lending channel. The first view focuses on changes in real interest rates resulting from a shift in monetary policy and corresponding responses in consumption, saving, and investment. The second view focuses on changes in the supply of bank credit resulting from an altered policy stance and concomitant changes in spending.
Nicola Cetorelli, Fernando Duarte, Thomas Eisenbach, and Emily Eisner
On December 9, 2015, Third Avenue Focused Credit Fund (FCF) announced a “Plan of Liquidation,” effectively halting investor redemptions. This announcement followed a period of poor performance and large outflows. Assets at the fund had declined from a peak of $2.5 billion in May of 2015 to $942 million in November. Investors had redeemed more than $1.1 billion in shares since April 2015, and the fund’s year-to-date performance as of November had fallen below -21 percent. The FCF “run” highlights the need to quantify the potential for systemic risk among open-end mutual funds and the potential for contagion in the event of more widespread runs on other vulnerable funds. In this post, we first characterize open-end mutual funds that seem vulnerable to redemptions in much the same way as FCF. We then analyze the potential for fire-sale spillovers to other mutual funds if large redemptions in “at-risk” funds were to occur.
The interdealer market for Treasury securities shares many features with other highly liquid markets that trade electronically using anonymous central limit order books. The interdealer Treasury market, however, contains a unique trading protocol, the so-called workup, that accounts for the majority of interdealer trading volume. While the workup is designed to enhance liquidity in a market with diverse participation, it may also delay certain price-improving order book adjustments and therefore affect price discovery. In this post, we exploit the tight relationship between the ten-year Treasury note traded on the BrokerTec platform and the corresponding Treasury futures contract to explore how the workup protocol affects trading in the interdealer market and to highlight the impact of technological changes on observed trading behaviors.
In an earlier post, we showed that Treasury market liquidity appears reasonably good by historical standards. That analysis focused on the most liquid benchmark securities, largely because data availability is best for those securities. However, some studies, such as this one and this one, report that market liquidity is concentrating in the most liquid securities at the expense of the less liquid, so that looking only at the benchmark securities gives a misleading impression. In this post, I look at trading volume information reported by the Federal Reserve to test whether liquidity is becoming more concentrated.
Tobias Adrian, Michael Fleming, Erik Vogt, and Zachary Wojtowicz
Our earlier analyses from last October and earlier in this series looked at market liquidity measures averaged across all corporate bonds or broad sub-groups of corporate bonds. Commentators have pointed out that such broad averages might mask important differences among narrower sub-groups of bonds and that relatively illiquid bonds, in particular, have suffered the largest reductions in liquidity. In this post, we consider these arguments by examining how corporate bond market liquidity has changed over time depending on the size and credit rating of the issue.
Tobias Adrian, Michael Fleming, Erik Vogt, and Zachary Wojtowicz
In a recent post, we presented some preliminary evidence suggesting that corporate bond market liquidity is ample. That evidence relied on bid-ask spread and price impact measures. The findings generated significant discussion, with some market participants wondering about the magnitudes of our estimates, their robustness, and whether such measures adequately capture recent changes in liquidity. In this post, we revisit these measures to more thoroughly document how they have varied over time and the importance of particular estimation approaches, trade size, trade frequency, and the dichotomy between investment-grade and high-yield bonds.
Liberty Street Economics features insight and analysis from New York Fed economists working at the intersection of research and policy. Launched in 2011, the blog takes its name from the Bank’s headquarters at 33 Liberty Street in Manhattan’s Financial District.
The editors are Michael Fleming, Andrew Haughwout, Thomas Klitgaard, and Donald Morgan, all economists in the Bank’s Research Group.
The views expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of the New York Fed or the Federal Reserve System.
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