Settlement fails in corporate securities increased sharply in 2022, reaching levels not seen since the 2007-09 financial crisis. As a fraction of trading volume, fails that involve primary dealers reached an all-time high in the week of March 23, 2022. In this post, we investigate the 2022 spike in settlement fails for corporate securities and discuss potential drivers for this increase, including trading volume, corporate issuance, fails in bond ETFs, and operational problems.
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.
On December 12, 2012, primary government securities dealers bought just 33 percent of the new ten-year Treasury notes sold at auction.
During the height of the 2007-09 financial crisis, intermediation activities across the financial sector collapsed.