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Author:Boyarchenko, Nina 

Discussion Paper
The Evolving Market for U.S. Sovereign Credit Risk

How should we measure market expectations of the U.S. government failing to meet its debt obligations and thereby defaulting? A natural candidate would be to use the spreads on U.S. sovereign single-name credit default swaps (CDS): since a CDS provides insurance to the buyer for the possibility of default, an increase in the CDS spread would indicate an increase in the market-perceived probability of a credit event occurring. In this post, we argue that aggregate measures of activity in U.S. sovereign CDS mask a decrease in risk-forming transactions after 2014. That is, quoted CDS spreads in ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200106

Discussion Paper
What’s in A(AA) Credit Rating?

Rising nonfinancial corporate business leverage, especially for riskier “high-yield” firms, has recently received increased public and supervisory scrutiny. For example, the Federal Reserve’s May 2019 Financial Stability Report notes that “growth in business debt has outpaced GDP for the past 10 years, with the most rapid growth in debt over recent years concentrated among the riskiest firms.” At the upper end of the credit spectrum, “investment-grade” firms have also increased their borrowing, while the number of higher-rated firms has decreased. In fact, there are currently ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200108

Discussion Paper
The Effect of Fed Funds Rate Hikes on Consumer Borrowing Costs

The target federal funds rate has hovered around zero for nearly a decade, and observers are questioning what effect an increase could have on both the financial markets and the real economy. In this post, we examine the historical reaction of loan rates to target rate increases. Specifically, we examine the interest rates that banks offer on residential mortgages and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20151221

Discussion Paper
Trends in Arbitrage-Based Measures of Bond Liquidity

Corporate bonds are an important source of funding for public corporations in the United States. When these bonds cannot be easily traded in secondary markets or when investors cannot easily hedge their bond positions in derivatives markets, the issuance costs to corporations increase, leading to higher overall funding costs. In this post, we examine recent trends in arbitrage-based measures of liquidity in corporate bond and credit default swap (CDS) markets and evaluate potential explanations for the deterioration in these measures that occurred between the middle of 2015 and early 2016.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20170109

Discussion Paper
Credit Market Arbitrage and Regulatory Leverage

In a companion post, we examined the recent trends in arbitraged-based measures of liquidity in the cash bond and credit default swap (CDS) markets. In this post, we turn to the mechanics of the CDS-bond arbitrage trade and explore how the costs and profitability of such trades might be affected by the finalization of the supplementary leverage ratio (SLR) rule in September 2014.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20170111

Report
Vulnerable growth

We study the conditional distribution of GDP growth as a function of economic and financial conditions. Deteriorating financial conditions are associated with an increase in the conditional volatility and a decline in the conditional mean of GDP growth, leading the lower quantiles of GDP growth to vary with financial conditions and the upper quantiles to be stable over time: Upside risks to GDP growth are low in most periods while downside risks increase as financial conditions become tighter. We argue that amplification mechanisms in the financial sector generate the observed growth ...
Staff Reports , Paper 794

Report
On the scale of financial intermediaries

This paper studies the economic scale of financial institutions. We show that banks and security broker-dealers actively smooth book equity by adjusting payouts. The smoothing of book equity is associated with procyclical book leverage and procyclical net payouts. In contrast, market leverage largely reflects movements in valuation levels as measured by book-to-market ratios. The 2008 crisis caused a structural break, after which the growth rates of the banking and dealer sectors have been subdued relative to pre-crisis levels. We draw conclusions for theories of financial intermediation and ...
Staff Reports , Paper 743

Report
Trends in credit market arbitrage

Market participants and policymakers alike were surprised by the large, prolonged dislocations in credit market arbitrage trades during the second half of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016. In this paper, we examine three explanations proposed by market participants: increased idiosyncratic risks, strategic positioning by some market participants, and regulatory changes. We find some evidence of increased idiosyncratic risk during the relevant period but limited evidence of asset managers changing their positioning in derivative products. While we cannot quantify the contribution of these ...
Staff Reports , Paper 784

Report
Dealer balance sheets and bond liquidity provision

Do regulations decrease dealer ability to intermediate trades? Using a unique data set of dealer-bond-level transactions, we link changes in liquidity of individual U.S. corporate bonds to dealers? transaction activity and balance sheet constraints. We show that, prior to the financial crisis, bonds traded by more levered institutions and institutions with investment-bank-like characteristics were more liquid but this relationship reverses after the financial crisis. In addition, institutions that face more regulations after the crisis both reduce their overall volume of trade and have less ...
Staff Reports , Paper 803

Report
Counterparty risk in material supply contracts

This paper explores the sources of counterparty risk in material supply relationships. Using long-term supply contracts collected from SEC filings, we test whether three sources of counterparty risk?financial exposure, product quality risk, and redeployability risk?are priced in the equity returns of linked firms. Our results show that equity holders require compensation for exposure to all three sources of risk. Specifically, offering trade credit to counterparties and investing in relationship-specific assets increase the firm?s exposure to counterparty risk. Further, we show that contracts ...
Staff Reports , Paper 694

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