Liberty Street Economics
October 14, 2015

Dealers’ Positions and the Auction Cycle

The aftermath of the financial crisis and changes in technology and regulation have spurred a spirited discussion of dealers’ evolving role in financial markets. One such role is to buy securities at auction and sell them off to investors over time. We assess this function using data on primary dealers’ positions in benchmark Treasury securities, released by the New York Fed since April 2013 and described in this earlier Liberty Street Economics post.

October 09, 2015

The Liquidity Mirage

Sixth in a six-part series

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.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Markets | Permalink | Comments ( 3 )

October 08, 2015

Redemption Risk of Bond Mutual Funds and Dealer Positioning

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.

October 07, 2015

Changes in the Returns to Market Making

Fourth in a six-part series

Since the financial crisis, major U.S. banking institutions have increased their capital ratios in response to tighter capital requirements. Some market analysts have asserted that the higher capital and liquidity requirements are driving up the costs of market making and reducing market liquidity. If regulations were, in fact, increasing the cost of market making, one would expect to see a rise in the expected returns to that activity. In this post, we estimate market-making returns in equity and corporate bond markets to assess the impact of regulations.

October 06, 2015

Has Liquidity Risk in the Treasury and Equity Markets Increased?

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.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:05 AM in Financial Markets | Permalink | Comments ( 4 )

Has Liquidity Risk in the Corporate Bond Market Increased?

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.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Markets | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

October 05, 2015

Has U.S. Corporate Bond Market Liquidity Deteriorated?

First in a six-part series
Commentators have argued that market liquidity has deteriorated in recent years as regulatory changes have reduced banks’ ability and willingness to make markets. In the corporate debt market, dealer positions, which are considered essential to good liquidity, have indeed declined, even as issuance and outstanding debt have increased. But is there evidence of reduced market liquidity? In previous posts, we discussed these issues in the context of the U.S. Treasury securities market. In this post, we focus on the U.S. corporate bond market, reviewing both price- and quantity-based liquidity measures, including trading volume, trade size, bid-ask spreads, and price impact.

Introduction to a Series on Market Liquidity: Part 2


Market participants and policymakers have raised concerns about the potential adverse effects of financial regulation on market liquidity—the ability to buy and sell securities quickly, at any time, at minimal cost. Market liquidity supports the efficient allocation of capital through financial markets, which is a catalyst for sustainable economic growth. Changes in market liquidity, whether due to regulation or other forces, are therefore of great interest to policymakers and market participants alike.

Posted by Blog Author at 11:00 AM in Financial Markets | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

October 02, 2015

Crisis Chronicles: Defensive Suspension and the Panic of 1857

Sometimes the world loses its bearings and the best alternative is a timeout. Such was the case during the Panic of 1857, which started when a prestigious bank in New York City collapsed, making all banks suddenly suspect. Banks, fearing a run on their gold reserves, started calling in loans from commercial firms and brokers, leading to asset sales at fire-sale prices and bankruptcies. By mid-October, banks in Philadelphia and New York suspended convertibility, meaning they would not allow gold to be withdrawn from their vaults even while all other banking services continued. Suspension then swept the nation as part of a defensive strategy, supported by local business interests, to prevent the Panic from spreading. While the suspensions appeared successful and few banks ended up failing, President Buchanan was outraged by what he viewed as yet another corrupt banking practice. He proposed making suspension a “death sentence” for banks as a draconian incentive to encourage safer banking practices. In this edition of Crisis Chronicles, we describe the Panic of 1857 and explain why businesses pushed for national suspension to save themselves.

October 01, 2015

Introducing Our New App: Economic Research Tracker


Our experiment in blogging began four years ago, when we launched Liberty Street Economics. Now, with more than 600 posts published, the blog platform has become a central way for us to share our research with a wide audience. To further expand access to the blog, we’re excited to bring readers a new option for keeping up with our work—the Economic Research Tracker for Apple iPad.

Posted by Blog Author at 11:06 AM in Macroecon | Permalink | Comments ( 2 )

About the Blog
Liberty Street Economics features insight and analysis from economists working at the intersection of research and policy.

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.

Economic Research Tracker for iPad®

Liberty Street Economics is now available on the iPad® and can be customized by economic research topic or economist.

Most Viewed

Last 12 Months
LSE in the News

Access to linked content may require a subscription.

Useful Links
Feedback & Comment Guidelines
Liberty Street Economics invites you to comment on a post.
Comment Guidelines
We encourage you to submit comments, queries and suggestions on our blog entries. We will post them below the entry, subject to the following guidelines:
Please be brief: Comments are limited to 1500 characters.
Please be quick: Comments submitted more than 1 week after the blog entry appears will not be posted.
Please try to submit before COB on Friday: Comments submitted after that will not be posted until Monday morning.
Please be on-topic and patient: Comments are moderated and will not appear until they have been reviewed to ensure that they are substantive and clearly related to the topic of the post. The moderator will not post comments that are abusive, harassing, or threatening; obscene or vulgar; or commercial in nature; as well as comments that constitute a personal attack.  We reserve the right not to post a comment; no notice will be given regarding whether a submission will or will not be posted.