Treasury Market Liquidity during the COVID-19 Crisis
A key objective of recent Federal Reserve policy actions is to address the deterioration in financial market functioning. The U.S. Treasury securities market, in particular, has been the subject of Fed and market participants’ concerns, and the venue for some of the Fed’s initiatives. In this post, we evaluate a basic metric of market functioning for Treasury securities— market liquidity—through the first month of the Fed’s extraordinary actions. Our particular focus is on how liquidity in March 2020 compares to that observed over the past fifteen years, a period that includes the ...
Unconventional monetary policy and the behavior of shorts
In November 2008, the Federal Reserve announced the first of a series of unconventional monetary policies, which would include asset purchases and forward guidance, to reduce long-term interest rates. We investigate the behavior of shorts, considered sophisticated investors, before and after a set of these unconventional monetary policy announcements that spot bond markets did not fully anticipate. Short interest in agency securities systematically predicts bond price changes and other asset returns on the days of monetary announcements, particularly when growth or monetary news is released, ...
Tick Size, Competition for Liquidity Provision, and Price Discovery: Evidence from the U.S. Treasury Market
This paper studies how a tick size change affects market quality, price discovery, and the competition for liquidity provision by dealers and high-frequency trading firms (HFTs) in the U.S. Treasury market. Employing difference-in-differences regressions around the November 19, 2018 tick size reduction in the two-year Treasury note and a similar change for the two-year futures eight weeks later, we find significantly improved market quality. Moreover, dealers become more competitive in liquidity provision and price improvement, consistent with the hypothesis that HFTs find liquidity provision ...
Supply and demand shifts of shorts before Fed announcements during QE1–QE3
Cohen, Diether, and Malloy (Journal of Finance, 2007), find that shifts in the demand curve predict negative stock returns. We use their approach to examine changes in supply and demand at the time of FOMC announcements. We show that shifts in the demand for borrowing Treasuries and agencies predict quantitative easing. A reduction in the quantity demanded at all points along the demand curve predicts expansionary quantitative easing announcements.
Information on Dealer Activity in Specific Treasury Issues Now Available
The New York Fed has long collected market information from its primary dealer trading counterparts and released these data in aggregated form to the public. Until recently, such data have only been available for broad categories of securities (for example, Treasury bills as a group) and not for specific securities. In April 2013, the Fed began releasing data on some specific Treasury issues, allowing for a more refined understanding of market conditions and dealer behavior.
The G-Spread Suggests Federal Reserve Restored Calm to Treasury Markets
In March, the coronavirus pandemic led to a sell-off in Treasury markets and a subsequent period of financial stress. I use one measure of Treasury market pressure, the G-spread, to gauge how liquidity in Treasury markets changed in response to the pandemic and the Federal Reserve’s interventions. I find that timely Federal Reserve interventions restored calm to the Treasury market, and that these interventions stand out in speed and scale compared with interventions in the early days of the 2007–08 financial crisis.
Pick Your Poison: How Money Market Funds Reacted to Financial Stress in 2011
The summer of 2011 was an unsettling period for financial markets. In the United States, Congress was unable to agree to terms for raising the debt ceiling until August, creating considerable uncertainty over whether the government would be forced to default on its debt. In Europe, the borrowing costs of some peripheral countries increased dramatically, raising questions about the health of some of the largest banks. In this post, we analyze data recently made public by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to see how the U.S. money market mutual fund (MMF) industry reacted to these ...
What Explains the June Spike in Treasury Settlement Fails?
In June of this year?as we noted in the preceding post?settlement fails in U.S. Treasury securities spiked to their highest level since the implementation of the fails charge in May 2009. Our first post reviewed what fails are, why they arise, and how they can be measured. In this post, we dig into the fails data to identify possible explanations for the high level of fails in June. We observe that sequential fails of several benchmark securities accounted for the lion?s share of fails in June, but that fails in seasoned securities?which have been trending upward for some time?were also ...
Current Recession Risk According to the Yield Curve
The slope of the Treasury yield curve is a popular recession predictor with an excellent track record. The two most common alternative measures of the slope typically move together but have diverged recently, making the resulting recession signals unclear. Economic arguments and empirical evidence, including its more accurate predictions, favor the difference between 10-year and 3-month Treasury securities. Recession probabilities for the next year derived from this spread so far remain modest.
Treasury Safety, Liquidity, and Money Premium Dynamics: Evidence from Recent Debt Limit Impasses
Treasury securities normally possess unparalleled safety and liquidity and, consequently, carry a money premium. We use recent debt limit impasses, which temporarily increased the riskiness of Treasuries, to investigate the relationship between the money premium, safety, and liquidity. Our results shed light on Treasury market dynamics specifically, and debt more generally. We first establish that a decline in the perceived safety of Treasuries erodes the money premium at all times. Meanwhile, changes in liquidity only affected the money premium during the impasses. Next, we show that ...