Monthly Archives: May 2016

Life below zero – the impact of negative rates on derivatives activity

James Purchase and Nick Constantine.

In 1995, Fischer Black, an economist whose ground-breaking work in financial theory helped revolutionise options trading, confidently stated that “the nominal short rate cannot be negative.”  Twenty years later this assumption looks questionable: one quarter of world GDP now comes from countries with negative central bank policy rates.  Practitioners have been forced to update their models accordingly, in many cases introducing greater complexity.  But this shift is not just academic.  Models allowing for a wider distribution of future rates require market participants to hedge against greater uncertainty.  We argue that this hedging contributed to the volatility in global rates in early 2015, but that derivatives can also play an important role in facilitating monetary policy transmission at negative rates.

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Filed under Financial Markets, Market Infrastructure, Monetary Policy, New Methodologies

Recycling is good for the liquidity environment: Why ending QE shouldn’t stop banks from being able to make CHAPS payments

Evangelos Benos & Gary Harper.

Since QE began, banks have had a lot more liquidity to make payments. But some have argued (in a nutshell) that banks are reliant on this extra liquidity to make their CHAPS payments and it would be difficult to remove it from the system. Our analysis shows that banks don’t need a great deal of liquidity to make their payments simply because they recycle such a high proportion of them. In practical terms, banks do not rely on high reserves balances to make their CHAPS payments so unwinding QE shouldn’t have any impact on banks’ ability to do just that. We also briefly go over the potential reasons for this such as the CHAPS throughput rules, the Liquidity Savings Mechanism, and the tiered structure of CHAPS.

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Filed under Banking, Financial Stability, Market Infrastructure, Monetary Policy

Have reforms to the BOE’s operating framework reduced money market volatility, and does this matter for monetary policy transmission?

Matthew Osborne.

Over the last twenty years, the BOE has carried out a number of reforms to its operational framework which have been partly intended to reduce money market volatility.  My analysis suggests that these have been successful. Overnight volatility fell by around 90% since the early 2000s and much of this can be explained by the BOE’s reforms.  But I find little evidence that this affected the volatility of term rates, which are more important than overnight rates for monetary policy transmission.  Therefore, central banks might consider giving less priority to money market volatility when designing their future operating frameworks.

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Filed under Financial Markets, Monetary Policy

The growth of peer-to-peer lending platforms and prospects for banks’ disintermediation – hype or real threat?

Paolo Siciliani.

Peer-to-peer lending platforms (P2P platforms) emerged after the financial crisis by catering for pent-up demand for unsecured borrowing from individuals and small businesses.  Ten years after the conception of P2P platforms, the question is whether they may soon start to penetrate more mainstream lending markets and thereby challenge high street lenders.  For example, according to the latest survey compiled by Nesta, P2P lending for the year 2015 was the equivalent of 3.9% of new loans lent to SMEs, although the outstanding stock of P2P lending is much lower.  This post considers how seriously in practice to take this threat to the traditional banking model.

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Filed under Banking, Financial Stability