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Author:Song, Zhaogang 

Report
Dealers and the Dealer of Last Resort: Evidence from MBS Markets in the COVID-19 Crisis

We study price dislocations and liquidity provision by dealers and the Federal Reserve (Fed) as the “dealer of last resort” in agency MBS markets during the COVID-19 crisis. As customers sold MBS to “scramble for cash,” dealers provided liquidity by taking inventory in the cash market and hedging inventory risk in the forward market. The cash and forward prices diverged significantly beyond the difference in the quality of MBS traded on the two markets. The Fed first facilitated dealers’ inventory hedging and then took holdings off dealers’ inventory directly. The price ...
Staff Reports , Paper 933

Report
Asset Pricing with Cohort-Based Trading in MBS Markets

Agency MBSs with diverse characteristics are traded in parallel with individualized specified pool (SP) contracts and standardized to-be-announced (TBA) contracts. This parallel trading environment has distinctive effects on MBS pricing and trading: (1) Although cheapest-to-deliver (CTD) issues are present only in TBA contracts and absent from SP trading by definition, MBS heterogeneity associated with CTD discounts affects SP returns positively, with the effect stronger for lower-value SPs; (2) High selling pressure amplifies the effects of MBS heterogeneity on SP returns; (3) Greater MBS ...
Staff Reports , Paper 931

Discussion Paper
Did Dealers Fail to Make Markets during the Pandemic?

In March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted a range of financial markets, the ability of dealers to maintain liquid conditions in these markets was questioned. Reflecting these concerns, authorities took numerous steps, including providing regulatory relief to dealers. In this post, we examine liquidity provision by dealers in several financial markets during the pandemic: how much was provided, possible causes of any shortfalls, and the effects of the Federal Reserve’s actions.
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20210324

Working Paper
An Empirical Test of Auction Efficiency: Evidence from MBS Auctions of the Federal Reserve

Auction theory has ambiguous implications regarding the relative efficiency of three formats of multiunit auctions: uniform-price, discriminatory-price, and Vickrey auctions. We empirically evaluate the performance of these three auction formats using the bid-level data of the Federal Reserve's purchase auctions of agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) from June 1, 2014 through November 17, 2014. We estimate marginal cost curves for all dealers, at each auction, based on structural models of the multiunit discriminatory-price auction. Our preliminary results suggest that neither ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-82

Working Paper
QE Auctions of Treasury Bonds

The Federal Reserve (Fed) uses a unique auction mechanism to purchase U.S. Treasury securities in implementing its quantitative easing (QE) policy. In this paper, we study the outcomes of QE auctions and participating dealers' bidding behaviors from November 2010 to September 2011, during which the Fed purchased $780 billion Treasury securities. Our data include the transaction prices and quantities of each traded bond in each auction, as well as dealers' identities. We find that: (1) In QE auctions the Fed tends to exclude bonds that are liquid and on special, but among included bonds, ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2014-48

Working Paper
A Tale of Two Option Markets: Pricing Kernels and Volatility Risk

Using prices of both S&P 500 options and recently introduced VIX options, we study asset pricing implications of volatility risk. While pointing out the joint pricing kernel is not identified nonparametrically, we propose model-free estimates of marginal pricing kernels of the market return and volatility conditional on the VIX. We find that the pricing kernel of market return exhibits a decreasing pattern given either a high or low VIX level, whereas the unconditional estimates present a U-shape. Hence, stochastic volatility is the key state variable responsible for the U-shape puzzle ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2014-58

Working Paper
Term Structure of Interest Rates with Short-run and Long-run Risks

Bond returns are time-varying and predictable. What economic forces drive this variation? To answer this long-standing question, we propose a consumption-based model with recursive preferences, long-run risks, and inflation non-neutrality. Our model offers two important insights. First, our model matches well the post-1990 nominal upward-sloping U.S. Treasury yield curve. Second, consistent with our model's implication, variance risk premium based on the U.S. interest rate derivatives data emerges as a strong predictor for short-horizon Treasury excess returns, above and beyond the predictive ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-95

Discussion Paper
MBS Market Dysfunctions in the Time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic elevated financial market illiquidity and volatility, especially in March 2020. The mortgage-backed securities (MBS) market, which plays a critical role in the housing market by funding the vast majority of U.S. residential mortgages, also suffered a period of dysfunction. In this post, we study a particular aspect of MBS market disruptions by showing how a long-standing relationship between cash and forward markets broke down, in spite of MBS dealers increasing the provision of liquidity. (See our related staff report for greater detail.) We also highlight an innovative ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200717

Report
Defragmenting Markets: Evidence from Agency MBS

Agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have historically traded in separate forward markets. We study the consequences of this fragmentation, showing that market liquidity endogenously concentrated in Fannie Mae MBS, leading to higher issuance and trading volume, lower transaction costs, higher security prices, and a lower primary market cost of capital for Fannie Mae. We then analyze a change in market design—the Single Security Initiative—which consolidated Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac MBS trading into a single market in June 2019. We find that ...
Staff Reports , Paper 965

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