Saturday, 7 February 2015

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Saturday, 31 January 2015

Collateral and liquidity

A new BIS paper illustrates how debt and collateralization create liquidity. In particular, money markets rely on excessive and obfuscated debt collateral to contain information costs. Opacity and “symmetric ignorance” support their smooth functioning. The flipside is that large negative shocks to collateral values inevitably catch markets “uninformed”, disrupting liquidity services.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Predicting bond returns

Simple regression is inadequate for predicting bond returns, as the character of rates markets changes fundamentally with economic conditions. In financial modelling terms this calls for time-varying parameters, time-varying volatility, and model uncertainty. A CEPR paper claims that these features can help turning standard forecast factors (forward rates, forward spreads, and macro) into a valuable prediction model.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

ECB asset purchases: key points to memorize

The ECB 2015/16 asset purchase program will include sovereign and quasi sovereign debt, ABS, and covered bonds. The envisaged annualized pace of balance sheet expansion should be around 6% of GDP. Pace and size are conditional on inflation expectations and open-ended, subject to restrictions on market size and issuer quality. The absence of full loss sharing could limit benefits for sovereign credit risk.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Local EM bond yields and FX risk

A BIS paper shows significant positive correlation of implied FX volatility and local EM bond yields. Empirically the causality runs mostly from FX to bonds, probably because currency risk is a key factor of foreign bond holdings. However, there can also be reverse causality, when FX derivatives are used as proxy hedge in a bond market turmoil. Since FX volatility is stationary, extreme values can indicate value in local EM bonds.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Basics of market liquidity risk

Market liquidity measures the cost efficiency of trading. Liquidity risk refers to the probability that these costs surge when trading is required. Liquidity and liquidity risk are major factors in the long-term performance of trading strategies. The apparent inverse relation between liquidity and expected returns also offers obvious profit opportunities. There are various conceptual solutions for measuring market liquidity timely.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Falling oil prices and the risk for zero-rate economies

A Bank of Italy paper illustrates the detrimental effect of a “negative cost push shock” (for example a commodity price drop) on an economy with low inflation and interest rates close to zero (such as the euro area). In normal times a downside cost shock would boost output. At the zero lower bound for rates, however, it would trigger a contraction, due to rising real rates and debt service.