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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.
Rich Podjasek, Linsey Molloy, Michael Fleming, and Andreas Fuster
Mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by the government-backed entities Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae, or so-called “agency MBS,” are the primary funding source for U.S. residential housing. A significant deterioration in the liquidity of the MBS market could lead investors to demand a premium for transacting in this important market, ultimately raising borrowing costs for U.S. homeowners. This post looks for evidence of changes in agency MBS market liquidity, complementing similar posts studying liquidity in U.S. Treasury and corporate bond markets.
Tobias Adrian, Michael Fleming, and Ernst Schaumburg
Market participants and policymakers have raised concerns about market liquidity—the ability to buy and sell securities quickly, at any time, at minimal cost. Market liquidity supports the efficient allocation of financial capital, which is a catalyst for sustainable economic growth. Any possible decline in market liquidity, whether due to regulation or otherwise, is of interest to policymakers and market participants alike.
Securities broker-dealers (dealers) trade securities on behalf of their customers and themselves. Recently, analysts have pointed to the decline in U.S. dealers’ corporate bond inventories as evidence that dealers’ market making capacity is impaired. However, historically such inventories also reflect dealers’ risk management and proprietary trading activities. In this post, we take a long-term perspective on the evolution of dealers’ inventories of corporate bonds, Treasuries, and other debt securities and relate those inventories to expected returns in fixed-income markets in an effort to better understand the drivers of dealer positioning.
Market efficiency is often pointed to as a main benefit of automated and high-frequency trading (HFT) in U.S. Treasury markets. Fresh information arriving in the market place is reflected in prices almost instantaneously, ensuring that market makers can maintain tight spreads and that consistent pricing of closely related assets generally prevails. While the positive developments in market functioning due to HFT have been widely acknowledged, we argue that the (price) efficiency gain comes at the cost of making the real-time assessment of market liquidity across multiple venues more difficult. This situation, which we term the liquidity mirage, arises because market participants respond not only to news about fundamentals but also market activity itself. This can lead to order placement and execution in one market affecting liquidity provision across related markets almost instantly. The modern market structure therefore implicitly involves a trade-off between increased price efficiency and heightened uncertainty about the overall available liquidity in the market.
Tobias Adrian, Michael Fleming, Or Shachar, and Erik Vogt
Fifth in a six-part series
Market participants have recently voiced concerns that bond markets seem to become illiquid precisely when they want to sell bonds. Some possible reasons for a decline in corporate bond market liquidity in times of stress include the increasing share of corporate bond ownership by mutual funds and the reduced share of corporate bond ownership by dealers. In this post, we examine the potential effects of outflows from bond mutual funds and the role of dealers’ positioning in corporate bonds.
Tobias Adrian, Michael Fleming, Daniel Stackman, and Erik Vogt
Third in a six-part series
Market participants have argued that market liquidity has deteriorated since the financial crisis. However, inspection of common metrics such as bid-ask spreads, market depth, and price impact do not show pronounced reductions in liquidity compared with precrisis levels. In this post, we argue that recent changes in liquidity conditions may best be described in terms of heightened liquidity risk, as opposed to general declines in liquidity levels. We propose a measure that shows liquidity risk has risen in equity and Treasury markets and discuss some factors behind the increase.
Tobias Adrian, Michael Fleming, Or Shachar, Daniel Stackman, and Erik Vogt
Second in a six-part series
Recent commentary suggests concern among market participants about corporate bond market liquidity. However, we showed in our previous post that liquidity in the corporate bond market remains ample. One interpretation is that liquidity risk might have increased, even as the average level of liquidity remains sanguine. In this post, we propose a measure of liquidity risk in the corporate bond market and analyze its evolution over time.
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.
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