Sophisticated and Unsophisticated Runs
In March 2020, U.S. prime money market funds (MMFs) suffered heavy outflows following the liquidity shock triggered by the COVID-19 crisis. In a previous post, we characterized the run on the prime MMF industry as a whole and the role of the liquidity facility established by the Federal Reserve (the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility) in stemming the run. In this post, based on a recent Staff Report, we contrast the behaviors of retail and institutional investors during the run and explain the different reasons behind the run.
The Money Market Fund Liquidity Facility
Over the first three weeks of March, as uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic increased, prime and municipal (muni) money market funds (MMFs) faced large redemption pressures. Similarly to past episodes of industry dislocation, such as the 2008 financial crisis and the 2011 European bank crisis, outflows from prime and muni MMFs were mirrored by large inflows into government MMFs, which have historically been seen by investors as a safe haven in times of crisis. In this post, we describe a liquidity facility established by the Federal Reserve in response to these outflows.
Money Market Funds and the New SEC Regulation
On October 14, 2016, amendments to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule 2a-7, which governs money market mutual funds (MMFs), went into effect. The changes are designed to reduce MMFs? susceptibility to destabilizing runs and contain two principal requirements. First, institutional prime and muni funds?but not retail or government funds?must now compute their net asset values (NAVs) using market-based factors, thereby abandoning the fixed NAV that had been a hallmark of the MMF industry. Second, all prime and muni funds must adopt a system of gates and fees on redemptions, which can ...
Monetary Policy Transmission and the Size of the Money Market Fund Industry: An Update
The size of the money market fund (MMF) industry co-moves with the monetary policy cycle. In a post published in 2019, we showed that this co-movement is likely due to the stronger response of MMF yields to monetary policy tightening relative to bank deposit rates, combined with MMF shares and bank deposits being close substitutes from an investor’s perspective. In this post, we update the analysis and zoom in to the current monetary policy tightening by the Federal Reserve.
COVID Response: The Money Market Mutual Fund Facility
In this article, we discuss the run on prime money market funds (MMFs) that occurred in March 2020, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and describe the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility (MMLF), which the Federal Reserve established in response to it. We show that the MMLF, like a similarly structured Federal Reserve facility established during the 2008 financial crisis, was an important tool in stemming investor outflows from MMFs and restoring calm in short-term funding markets. The usage of the facility was higher by funds that suffered larger outflows. After the facility’s ...
How Bank Reserves Are Distributed Matters. How You Measure Their Distribution Matters Too.
Changes in the distribution of banks’ reserve balances are important since they may impact conditions in the federal funds market and alter trading dynamics in money markets more generally. In this post, we propose using the Lorenz curve and Gini coefficient as a new approach to measuring reserve concentration. Since 2013, concentration, as captured by the Lorenz curve and the Gini coefficient, has co-moved with aggregate reserves, decreasing as aggregate reserves declined (such as in 2015-18) and increasing as aggregate reserves increased (such as at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic).
The Market Events of Mid-September 2019
This article studies the mid-September 2019 stress in U.S. money markets: On September 16 and 17, unsecured and secured funding rates spiked, and on September 17, the effective federal funds rate broke the ceiling of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) target range. We highlight two factors that may have contributed to these events. First, reserves may have become scarce for at least some depository institutions, in the sense that these institutions’ reserve holdings may have been close to, or lower than, their desired level. Moreover, frictions in the interbank market may have ...
Scarce, Abundant, or Ample? A Time-Varying Model of the Reserve Demand Curve
What level of central bank reserves satiates banks’ demand for liquidity? We provide a model of the reserve demand curve in the United States and estimate it at daily frequency over 2010-21 using an instrumental-variable approach combined with a time-varying vector autoregressive model. This paper makes a methodological contribution in providing an approach that can address the three main issues affecting the estimation of the reserve demand curve: nonlinearity, time variation due to slow-moving structural changes, and endogeneity. We have three main empirical findings. First, as predicted ...
The Optimal Supply of Central Bank Reserves under Uncertainty
This paper provides an analytically tractable theoretical framework to study the optimal supply of central bank reserves when the demand for reserves is uncertain and nonlinear. We fully characterize the optimal supply of central bank reserves and associated market equilibrium. We find that the optimal supply of reserves under uncertainty is greater than that absent uncertainty. With a sufficient degree of uncertainty, it is optimal to supply a level of reserves that is abundant (on the flat portion of the demand curve) absent shocks. The optimal mean spread between the market interest rate ...
Monetary Policy, Investor Flows, and Loan Fund Fragility
We find robust evidence indicating a pro-cyclical relationship between monetary policy shocks and loan fund flows. This relationship, however, is asymmetric: weaker for policy rate increases and stronger for policy rate decreases. Further, the effect of monetary policy shocks is stronger when short-term rates are higher. Finally, we document that large outflows from loan funds are associated with a decline in prices in the leveraged loan market. Our results identify a novel channel of monetary policy transmission that not only affects a critical segment of the credit sector, but also has the ...