The U.S. Treasury market is one of the most liquid financial markets in the world, and Treasury bonds have long been considered a safe haven for global investors. It is often believed that Treasury bonds earn a “convenience yield,” in the sense that investors are willing to accept a lower yield on them compared to other investments with the same cash flows owing to Treasury bonds’ safety and liquidity. However, since the global financial crisis (GFC), long-maturity U.S. Treasury bonds have traded at a yield consistently above the interest rate swap rate of the same maturity. The emergence of the “negative swap spread” appears to suggest that Treasury bonds are “inconvenient,” at least relative to interest rate swaps. This post dives into this Treasury “inconvenience” premium and highlights the role of dealers’ balance sheet constraints in explaining it.
Several centralized crypto entities failed in 2022, resulting in the cascading failure of other crypto firms and raising questions about the protection of crypto investors. While the total amount invested in the crypto sector remains small in the United States, more than 10 percent of all Americans are invested in cryptocurrencies. In this post, we examine whether migrating crypto activities from centralized platforms to decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols might afford investors better protection, especially in the absence of regulatory changes. We argue that while DeFi provides some benefits for investors, it also introduces new risks and so more work is needed to make it a viable option for mainstream investors.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has increased the target interest rate by 3.75 percentage points since March 17, 2022. In this post we examine how corporate bond market functioning has evolved along with the changes in monetary policy through the lens of the U.S. Corporate Bond Market Distress Index (CMDI). We compare this evolution to the 2015 tightening cycle for context on how bond market conditions have evolved as rates increase. The overall CMDI has deteriorated but remains close to historical medians. The investment-grade CMDI index has deteriorated more than the high-yield, driven by low levels of primary market issuance.
Policymakers and market participants are closely watching liquidity conditions in the U.S. Treasury securities market. Such conditions matter because liquidity is crucial to the many important uses of Treasury securities in financial markets. But just how liquid has the market been and how unusual is the liquidity given the higher-than-usual volatility? In this post, we assess the recent evolution of Treasury market liquidity and its relationship with price volatility and find that while the market has been less liquid in 2022, it has not been unusually illiquid after accounting for the high level of volatility.
Over the past fifteen years, reserves in the banking system have grown from tens of billions of dollars to several trillion dollars. This extraordinary rise poses a natural question: Are the rates paid in the market for reserves still sensitive to changes in the quantity of reserves when aggregate reserve holdings are so large? In today’s post, we answer this question by estimating the slope of the reserve demand curve from 2010 to 2022, when reserves ranged from $1 trillion to $4 trillion.
Since the advent of derivatives trading on short-term interest rates in the 1980s, financial commentators have often interpreted market prices as directly reflecting the expected path of future interest rates. However, market prices generally embed risk premia (or “term premia” in reference to measures of risk premia over different horizons) reflecting the compensation required to bear the risk of the asset. When term premia are large in magnitude, derivatives prices may differ substantially from investor expectations of future rates. In this post, we assess whether term premia have increased with the recent rise in inflation, given the historically positive relationship between the two series, and what this means for the interpretation of derivatives prices.
The market for U.S. Treasury securities experienced extreme stress in March 2020, when prices dropped precipitously (yields spiked) over a period of about two weeks. This was highly unusual, as Treasury prices typically increase during times of stress. Using a theoretical model, we show that markets for safe assets can be fragile due to strategic interactions among investors who hold Treasury securities for their liquidity characteristics. Worried about having to sell at potentially worse prices in the future, such investors may sell preemptively, leading to self-fulfilling “market runs” that are similar to traditional bank runs in some respects.
Treasury yields have risen sharply in recent months. The yield on the most recently issued ten-year note, for example, rose from 1.73 percent on March 4 to 3.48 percent on June 14, reaching its highest level since April 2011. Increasing yields result in realized or mark-to-market losses for fixed-income investors. In this post, we put these losses in historical perspective and investigate whether longer-term yield changes are better explained by expectations of higher short-term rates or by investors demanding greater compensation for holding Treasury securities.
The economic disruptions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a global dash-for-cash as investors sold securities rapidly. This selling pressure occurred across advanced sovereign bond markets and caused a deterioration in market functioning, leading to a number of central bank actions. In this post, we highlight results from a recent paper in which we show that these disruptions occurred disproportionately in the U.S. Treasury market and offer explanations for why investors’ selling pressures were more pronounced and broad-based in this market than in other sovereign bond markets.
The U.S. dollar has played a preeminent role in the global economy since the second World War. It is used as a reserve currency and the currency of denomination for a large fraction of global trade and financial transactions. The status of the U.S. dollar engenders important considerations for the effectiveness of U.S. policy instruments and the functioning of global financial markets. These considerations include understanding potential factors that may alter the dominance of the U.S. dollar in the future, such as changes in the macroeconomic and policy environments or the development of new technologies and payment systems.