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Alexander Düring

29 November 2018
Financial Stability Review Issue 2, 2018
Liquidity in the Italian sovereign bond market deteriorated sharply at the end of May. Heightened political uncertainty led to a rise in Italian sovereign bond yields and triggered a short-lived flattening of the yield curve (see Chart 2.12, right panel). At the same time, liquidity conditions deteriorated significantly. On 29 May intraday bid-ask spreads increased to levels not seen since the height of the euro area sovereign debt crisis in 2011 (see Chart A, left and right panels). On the interdealer MTS platform specialised in the Italian market, the ratio of the bid-ask spread to the mid bid-ask price for the most recently issued ten-year (on-the-run) bond – a measure that moves inversely with market liquidity – rose from below 0.1% to above 5%. The resilience of the market has been adversely affected too. Orders larger than €50 million could no longer be executed at the best five prices quoted by participating dealers, according to intraday order-book data.