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88 posts on "Liquidity"
November 6, 2023

Banking System Vulnerability: 2023 Update

decorative image: first republic bank building photographed from the ground looking up toward the sky with a few tall buildings next to it.

The bank failures that occurred in March 2023 highlighted how unrealized losses on securities can make banks vulnerable to a sudden loss of funding. This risk, which materialized following the rapid rise in interest rates that began in early 2022, underscores the importance of monitoring the vulnerabilities of the banking system. In this post, as in previous years, we provide an update of four analytical models aimed at capturing different aspects of vulnerability of the U.S. banking system, with data through the second quarter of 2023. In addition, we discuss changes made to the methodology based on the lessons from March 2023 and assess how the system-level vulnerability has evolved.

July 12, 2023

Runs on Stablecoins

Decorative image; list of bitcoins with chart overlay

Stablecoins are digital assets whose value is pegged to that of fiat currencies, usually the U.S. dollar, with a typical exchange rate of one dollar per unit. Their market capitalization has grown exponentially over the last couple of years, from $5 billion in 2019 to around $180 billion in 2022. Notwithstanding their name, however, stablecoins can be very unstable: between May 1 and May 16, 2022, there was a run on stablecoins, with their circulation decreasing by 15.58 billion and their market capitalization dropping by $25.63 billion (see charts below.) In this post, we describe the different types of stablecoins and how they keep their peg, compare them with money market funds—a similar but much older and more regulated financial product, and discuss the stablecoin run of May 2022. 

January 11, 2023

Foreign Banking Organizations in the United States and the Price of Dollar Liquidity

Decorative photo: dollar bills and ripples and drop of water over them

Foreign banking organizations (FBOs) in the United States play an important role in setting the price of short-term dollar liquidity. In this post, based on remarks given at the 2022 Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium, we highlight FBOs’ activities in money markets and discuss how the availability of reserve balances affects these activities. Understanding the dynamics of FBOs’ business models and their balance sheet constraints helps us monitor the evolution of liquidity conditions during quantitative easing (QE) and tightening (QT) cycles.

November 30, 2022

How Is the Corporate Bond Market Functioning as Interest Rates Increase?

decorative image - skyscraper buildings with word bond overlay.

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.

Posted at 10:00 am in Financial Markets, Liquidity | Permalink
November 15, 2022

How Liquid Has the Treasury Market Been in 2022?

Decorative: dollar bills with water ripple over them

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.

Posted at 7:00 am in Financial Markets, Liquidity, Treasury | Permalink
October 12, 2022

With Abundant Reserves, Do Banks Adjust Reserve Balances to Accommodate Payment Flows?

Photo: decorative of 100 dollar bills and bank building columns

As a result of the global financial crisis (GFC), the Federal Reserve switched from a regime of scarce reserves to one of abundant reserves. In this post, we explore how banks’ day-to-day management of reserve balances with respect to payment flows changed with this regime switch. We find that bank behavior did not change on average; under both regimes, banks increased their opening balances when they expected higher outgoing payments and, similarly, decreased these balances with expected higher incoming payments. There are substantial differences across banks, however. At the introduction of the abundant-reserves regime, small domestic banks no longer adjusted balances alongside changes in outgoing payments. 

Posted at 7:00 am in Banks, Federal Reserve, Liquidity | Permalink
September 8, 2022

How Can Safe Asset Markets Be Fragile?

Photo: carton on eggs with one egg cracked

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.

June 27, 2022

The First Global Credit Crisis

Photo: Amsterdam stock exchange in 17 and 18 centuries; source Wikimedia

June 2022 marks the 250th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1772-3 credit crisis. Although not widely known today, this was arguably the first “modern” global financial crisis in terms of the role that private-sector credit and financial products played in it, in the paths of financial contagion that propagated the initial shock, and in the way authorities intervened to stabilize markets. In this post, we describe these developments and note the parallels with modern financial crises.

December 20, 2021

Do the Fed’s International Dollar Liquidity Facilities Affect Offshore Dollar Funding Markets and Credit?

At the outbreak of the pandemic, in March 2020, the Federal Reserve implemented a suite of facilities, including two associated with international dollar liquidity—the central bank swap lines and the Foreign International Monetary Authorities (FIMA) repo facility—to provide dollar liquidity. This post discusses recent evidence showing the contributions of these facilities to financial and economic stability, highlighting evidence from recent research by Goldberg and Ravazzolo (December 2021).

November 10, 2021

How Does Market Power Affect Fire‑Sale Externalities?

An important role of capital and liquidity regulations for financial institutions is to counteract inefficiencies associated with “fire-sale externalities,” such as the tendency of institutions to lever up and hold illiquid assets to the extent that their collective actions increase financial vulnerabilities. However, theoretical models that study such externalities commonly assume perfect competition among financial institutions, in spite of high (and increasing) financial sector concentration. In this post, which is based on our forthcoming article, we consider instead how the effects of fire-sale externalities change when financial institutions have market power.

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