Recent experience with the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates, and the use of high-denomination notes by criminals and tax evaders, have led to revived proposals to phase out cash. This column argues that abolishing cash may be neither necessary nor sufficient to overcome the zero lower bound problem, and would severely undermine privacy. Allowing the public to hold reserves at central banks could reduce the need for deposit insurance, although the transition to the new regime and the effects on credit supply must be carefully considered.
Dirk Niepelt, Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Xavier Vives, Monday, December 22, 2014
Banking has recently proven much more fragile than expected. This column argues that the Basel III regulatory response overlooks the interactions between different kinds of prudential policies, and the link between prudential policy and competition policy. Capital and liquidity requirements are partially substitutable, so an increase in one requirement should generally be accompanied by a decrease in the other. Increased competitive pressure calls for tighter solvency requirements, whereas increased disclosure requirements or the introduction of public signals may require tighter liquidity requirements.
Ron Alquist, Rahul Mukherjee, Linda Tesar, Monday, December 22, 2014
Foreign direct investment is an essential element in 21st century development strategies. This column discusses new evidence that estimates the importance of financial liquidity as a driver of such flows into emerging-market economies. Financial liquidity considerations are key determinants of the size and ownership structure of these investments.
Jean-Pierre Landau, Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Eurozone inflation has been persistently declining for almost a year, and constantly undershooting forecasts. Building on existing research, this column explores the conjecture that low inflation in the Eurozone results from an excess demand for safe assets. If true, this conjecture would have definite policy implications. Getting out of such a ‘safety trap’ would necessitate fiscal or non-conventional monetary policies tailored to temporarily take risk away from private balance sheets.
Olivier Blanchard, Friday, October 3, 2014
Before the 2008 crisis, the mainstream worldview among US macroeconomists was that economic fluctuations were regular and essentially self-correcting. In this column, IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard explains how this benign view of fluctuations took hold in the profession, and what lessons have been learned since the crisis. He argues that macroeconomic policy should aim to keep the economy away from ‘dark corners’, where it can malfunction badly.
Marius Zoican, Saturday, September 20, 2014
Technological advances in equity markets entered the spotlight following the Flash Crash of May 2010. This column analyses the advantages and disadvantages of algorithmic and high-frequency trading. Ever-faster exchanges do not always improve liquidity. Following a speed upgrade in the Nordic equity markets, effective spreads posted by high-frequency traders increased by 32%.
Alan Moreira, Alexi Savov, Tuesday, September 16, 2014
The prevailing view of shadow banking is that it is all about regulatory arbitrage – evading capital requirements and exploiting ‘too big to fail’. This column focuses instead on the tradeoff between economic growth and financial stability. Shadow banking transforms risky, illiquid assets into securities that are – in good times, at least – treated like money. This alleviates the shortage of safe assets, thereby stimulating growth. However, this process builds up fragility, and can exacerbate the depth of the bust when the liquidity of shadow banking securities evaporates.
Giovanni Cespa, Xavier Vives, Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Since capital flows to and from hedge funds are strongly related to past performance, an exogenous liquidity shock can trigger a vicious cycle of outflows and declining performance. Therefore, ‘noise’ trades – usually thought of as erratic – may in fact be persistent. Based on recent research, this column argues that there can be multiple equilibria with different levels of liquidity and informational efficiency, and that the high-information equilibrium can under certain conditions be unstable. The model provides a lens through which to interpret the ‘Quant Meltdown’ of August 2007 and the recent financial crisis.
Stefan W Schmitz, Heiko Hesse, Friday, February 28, 2014
Europe aims to implement Liquidity Coverage Ratio regulation by the end of 2014. This column discusses recent evidence on its impact. It finds that EU banks have not adjusted by reducing lending to the real economy, to SMEs, or to trade finance. Despite this adjustment, substantial liquidity risk exposure remains. Overall, the benefits of the LCR outweigh the costs by far.
Clemens Bonner, Thursday, February 6, 2014
Liquidity risks can be a primary source of bank failures. As such, there are arguments not to rely on a single metric for providing supervision. This column describes research on detailed cases of failed and near-failed institutions, which helps highlight gaps in current practices of liquidity stress testing. It also gives guidance on how to design liquidity stress tests. Deposit insurance coverage, the heterogeneity of lending commitments, distinction between different types of repos, committed facilities, and derivative transactions should receive increased attention when designing liquidity stress tests.
Clemens Bonner, Iman van Lelyveld, Robert Zymek, Friday, November 1, 2013
What are the determinants of banks’ liquidity holdings and how are these reshaped by liquidity regulation? Based on a sample of 7,000 banks in 30 OECD countries, this column argues that banks’ liquidity buffers are determined by a combination of both bank- and country-specific variables. The presence of liquidity regulation substitutes for most of these determinants while complementing the role of size and institutions’ disclosure requirements. The complementary nature of disclosure and liquidity requirements provides a strong rationale for considering them jointly in the design of regulation.
Clemens Bonner, Sylvester Eijffinger, Monday, October 14, 2013
Liquidity requirements like the Basel III Liquidity Coverage Ratio are aimed at reducing banks’ reliance on short-term funding. This may have implications for the implementation of monetary policy, which usually operates through short-term interbank interest rates. This column looks at how banks reacted to the Dutch quantitative liquidity requirement. The authors conclude that liquidity requirements will only reduce overnight interest rates if they cause an aggregate liquidity shortage.
Edwin M. Truman, Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Should we expect more global financial crises? This column argues that we should. Global financial crises are far from being a thing of the past because they are often caused by buildups of excessive domestic and foreign debt. To successfully address them and to limit negative spillovers, we need coordinated actions that prevent a contraction in global liquidity. Unless we establish this more robust, coordinated global financial safety net centred on central banks (which is where the money is), we may end up being incapable of addressing inevitable future crises.
Valentina Bruno, Hyun Song Shin, Friday, June 7, 2013
‘Global liquidity’ focuses on the role of cross-border banking in the international transmission of financial conditions. This column argues that when global banks apply more lenient conditions on national banks by supplying wholesale funding, national banks transmit the more lenient conditions to their borrowers through greater availability of local credit. Researchers and policymakers would do well to recognise the role of global liquidity as a key concept in international finance.
Alex Edmans, Vivian W Fang, Emanuel Zur, Saturday, February 16, 2013
The stock market is a powerful tool for controlling corporations’ behaviour. But which is better, a highly liquid market or a number of large blockholders? This column argues in favour of liquidity. Evidence suggests that policymakers should not reduce stock liquidity through greater regulation. While the idea that liquidity encourages short-term trading – rather than long-term governance – sounds intuitive, deeper analysis shows that liquidity is beneficial because it encourages large shareholders to form in the first place, and allows shareholders to punish underperforming firms through selling their stake.
Clemens Bonner, Sylvester Eijffinger, Saturday, October 13, 2012
Will the new Basel rules make monetary policy less effective? This column looks at how banks responded to the introduction of the Dutch quantitative liquidity requirement. It concludes that a liquidity rule does influence lending rates and volumes in the interbank money market. These effects, however, are at least partially intended and the overall effect of a binding liquidity rule is still positive.
The aim of the 2nd MoFiR Workshop on Banking is to bring together scholars in banking and finance to discuss the causes, transmission mechanisms, and consequences of the crisis, focusing also on the policy implications for the current situation and the potential reforms.
The organizing committee invites the submission of full papers or extended abstracts on the following themes:
• Financial sector fragility, contagion, safety nets, and crises;
• The (dis-)advantages of cross-border banking;
• Liquidity management and provision by financial intermediaries;
• Banks’ organizational models, informational asymmetries and distance;
• Bank lending, entrepreneurial finance and firm growth;
• Experiments in banking.
Christian Schmieder, Heiko Hesse, Benjamin Neudorfer, Claus Puhr, Stefan W Schmitz, Wednesday, February 1, 2012
The global financial crisis has shown that neglecting liquidity risk comes at a substantial price. This column presents a new framework to run system-wide, balance sheet data–based liquidity stress tests. The liquidity framework includes a module to simulate the impact of bank-run type scenarios, a module to assess risks arising from maturity transformation and rollover risks, and a framework to link liquidity and solvency risks.
Zoltan Pozsar, Wednesday, November 16, 2011
The shadow banking system is vast; but why did it arise? Some view it as regulatory arbitrage while others view it as the market fulfilling investors’ demand for ‘riskless’ assets. This column explains the issues and discusses policy options.
Sergio Nicoletti-Altimari, Carmelo Salleo, Friday, June 11, 2010
The global crisis ruthlessly exposed the weakness of the market for liquidity. This column suggests that banks should issue securities with a “Roll-Over Option Facility” that would allow banks to keep funds if there is turmoil in liquidity markets. It adds that these facilities would help reallocate liquidity risk outside the banking sector, thus reducing the probability and severity of a crisis.