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Caspar Helmus

10 June 2024
We use outages as natural experiments to study sovereign bond market functioning. When the euro area futures market goes down, trading activity on the cash market declines, liquidity evaporates, and transaction prices deviate from fundamental values. Tracing back this macrolevel market breakdown to the micro-level, we show that particularly dealers withdraw from the cash market during outages. While most of their remaining trades remain fairly priced, dealer’s capacity to intermediate trades on the cash market is reduced, forcing more clients to trade directly with each other, leading to substantial mispricing. Lastly, outages on cash trading venues barely affect the futures market, suggesting that price formation and liquidity provision is a one-way street, and outages on the US and euro area futures market barely affect each other, in stark contrast to the significant price spillovers. Our results reveal the trade-offs between a (de)centralized market structure, they support cross-asset learning models to explain the link between liquidity and arbitrage, and they demonstrate how financial intermediaries can impose important limits to arbitrage.
JEL Code
G12 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Asset Pricing, Trading Volume, Bond Interest Rates
G14 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Information and Market Efficiency, Event Studies, Insider Trading
G23 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Non-bank Financial Institutions, Financial Instruments, Institutional Investors
14 November 2017
Since 2008, excess liquidity – defined as the sum of holdings of central bank reserves in excess of reserve requirements and holdings of equivalent central bank deposits – has tended to accumulate in specific euro area countries and in a small, slowly changing group of credit institutions. Despite the stability of the concentration of excess liquidity in specific countries over time, the relevance of individual drivers has changed. First, risk aversion has played a much smaller role in explaining the concentration since 2013 than it did at the time of “flight-to-quality” phenomena in the period 2010-12. Second, the location of the relevant market infrastructures (i.e. central securities depositories, securities settlement systems and TARGET2 accounts) used by counterparties that sold assets to the Eurosystem has been a more important driver directing flows in the period 2015-16. In addition, the more recent concentration of excess liquidity is explained by the combination of a number of factors, such as banks following strict internal credit limits, investment incentives created by yield differences across the euro area and the “home bias” in euro area government bond holdings. Overall, the net cross-border flows of liquidity that resulted also determined TARGET2 balances. At the individual bank level, when controlling for banks’ capital, non-performing loans, credit risk and profitability, excess liquidity holdings in relation to total assets are found to be higher for smaller and better-capitalised banks, and for banking groups with liquidity centralised at the head institution. In addition, participation in Eurosystem longer-term refinancing operations and deposit inflows are associated with liquidity accumulation. Finally, new regulatory initiatives such as the liquidity coverage ratio are explained to be creating incentives to hold or not to distribute liquidity, thereby affecting its distribution.
JEL Code
E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
E50 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→General
G01 : Financial Economics→General→Financial Crises
G28 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Government Policy and Regulation
D39 : Microeconomics→Distribution→Other
E41 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Demand for Money
2 May 2017
This paper provides a comprehensive overview of the use of the Eurosystem's monetary policy instruments and the operational framework from the third quarter of 2012 until the first quarter of 2016. The paper reviews the context of Eurosystem market operations, counterparty and collateral framework, participation in tender operations, recourse to standing facilities, patterns of reserve fulfilment, outright asset purchase programmes, as well as the impact of the ECB’s monetary policy implementation on the Eurosystem's balance sheet and liquidity conditions.
JEL Code
D02 : Microeconomics→General→Institutions: Design, Formation, and Operations
E43 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies
E65 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
G01 : Financial Economics→General→Financial Crises
26 May 2017