Monday, July 04, 2011

Bond market liquidity

The reduction in bond market liquidity due to the decline in bank risk appetite and increased capital requirement.

Lack of liquidity bad for big bond funds - "In 2007 bond fund managers were able to trade bonds at bid/offer spreads of 0.25 per cent. That widened to 2-3 per cent at the height of the crisis from September 2008 to March 2009. Trading spreads subsequently fell back to 0.4-0.5 per cent but have since crept up again to about 1 per cent on fears of the European sovereign debt crisis. Mr Davidson says: “It’s clear the banks don’t want any credit instruments on their books, especially given everything that’s going on in peripheral Europe.”

As a result, he adds, anyone managing a bond fund with assets of £1bn ($1.6bn) or more – with individual holdings of £10m plus – has their hands pretty much tied, “unless they resort to the euro market for greater cash liquidity or the CDS [credit default swap] market for greater active liquidity – but they’d be giving away yield in both cases. It is taking people a long time to trade out of an accumulated position of over £100m in a single, not very liquid bond.”"

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