Beyond emissions: the interplay of macroprudential regulation and climate policy

Francesca Diluiso, Barbara Annicchiarico and Marco Carli

While climate change is often seen as a long-term concern, climate mitigation policies can have different short-term effects, since they affect the transmission mechanism of conventional macroeconomic shocks. In a new working paper, we show that cap-and-trade schemes lead to lower volatility in GDP and financial variables, and result in reduced welfare costs of the business cycle, when compared to the more widely known carbon taxes. As we find that these welfare differences are primarily driven by distortions in financial markets, we argue that countercyclical macroprudential regulation, even without any green-biased component, can effectively align the welfare performance of these policies and mitigate their short-run costs.

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Central clearing and the functioning of government bond markets

Yuliya Baranova, Eleanor Holbrook, David MacDonald, William Rawstorne, Nicholas Vause and Georgia Waddington

The functioning of major government bond and related repo markets has deteriorated on several occasions in recent years as trading demand has overwhelmed dealers’ intermediation capacity. Seeking a remedy, Duffie (2020) proposes a study of the costs and benefits of a clearing mandate in these markets. Such a policy could boost dealers’ intermediation capacity by allowing more of their trades to be netted, thereby reducing their balance sheet exposures and capital requirements. In a recent staff working paper, we estimate the effects of comprehensive central clearing of cash gilt and gilt repo trades on UK dealer balance sheets during one particular stress episode. This post summarises those quantitative results and discusses qualitatively other costs and benefits of broader central clearing.

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Decoding the market for inflation risk

Saleem Bahaj, Robert Czech, Sitong Ding and Ricardo Reis

Few topics captivate our attention like the enigma of inflation. Understanding where the market thinks inflation is headed is crucial for policymakers, investors, and anyone who wants to keep their financial ducks in a row. And that’s where inflation swaps come into play. They are like the crystal ball of inflation expectations, allowing traders to hedge against inflation risk and giving us a peek into the minds of market participants. In a recent paper, we delve into this thriving market to uncover the who, what, and why behind the prices of these swaps to shed light on the dynamics of inflation expectations.

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Leveraged and inverse ETFs – the exotic side of exchange-traded funds

Julian Oakland

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are supposed to be simple and straightforward, and for the most part they are, but one group punches well above its weight when it comes to market impact. In this post, I show that leveraged and inverse (L&I) ETFs generate rebalancing flows that: (1) are always in the same direction of the underlying market move; (2) grow significantly with both increasing and inverse leverage; and (3) must be transacted towards the end of the trading day. These features give rebalancing flows the potential to amplify market moves when markets are at their most vulnerable. L&I ETFs do not currently pose a risk to UK financial stability, but this could change if they grow in popularity.

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Risk perceptions and economic activity in the United Kingdom

Nicholas Vause and Carolin Pflueger

Recently, Pflueger, Siriwardane and Sunderam (2020) proposed a new measure of investor risk perceptions based on the cross-section of stock prices. Using that measure, they found that when risk perceptions are high, the cost of capital of risky firms is high and subsequently real investment and employment decline in the United States. In this post, we show that similar relationships exist in the United Kingdom. In 2023 Q1, the UK measure fell to its lowest level since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, indicating higher risk perceptions and potentially foreshadowing weaker economic activity. This indicator may be helpful for policymakers, as it could serve as a useful measure of risk perceptions relevant for future economic developments and monetary policy.

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Convertible or not: making sense of stresses in AT1 bonds market

Mahmoud Fatouh and Ioana Neamțu

Similar to the Deutsche Bank’s episode in 2016 and the Covid stress in 2020, AT1 spreads over subordinated debt rose rapidly and sharply following the Credit Swiss rescue deal. Beyond these three cases, AT1 spreads have been stable. In this post, we focus on conversion risk of AT1 bonds (also known as contingent convertible, CoCo, bonds) to explain the sharp rise in AT1 spreads in these three cases. Conversion risk is the main additional risk of AT1 bonds, compared to subordinated debt. It arises from the potential wealth transfer from AT1 bondholders to existing shareholders when AT1 conversion is triggered, conditional on the solvency of the issuer. We show that, in normal times, investors believe conversion risk is very low, but major events can change this significantly, largely due to higher uncertainty.

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Lifting the lid on a liquidity crisis

Lydia Henning, Simon Jurkatis, Manesh Powar and Gian Valentini

Autumn 2022 saw some of the largest intraday moves in gilt yields in history. It was then that jargon normally confined to financial stability papers entered into mainstream commentary – ‘LDI’, ‘doom loop’, ‘deleveraging’. And it was then that the Bank of England engaged in an unprecedented financial stability motivated government bond market intervention. What happened and why has been set out in detail in official Bank communications. This article instead hovers a magnifying glass over transaction-level regulatory data on derivative, repurchase agreements (repo) and bond markets to quantify liability-driven investment (LDI) and pension fund behaviour and enrich our understanding of these exceptional few weeks of stress.

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Funding structures and resilience to shocks after a decade of regulatory reform

Kristin Forbes, Christian Friedrich and Dennis Reinhardt

Recent episodes of financial stress, including the ‘dash for cash’ at the onset of the Covid-19 (Covid) pandemic, pressure in the UK’s liability-driven investment funds in 2022, and the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in 2023, were stark reminders of the vulnerability of financial institutions to shocks that disrupt liquidity and access to funding. This post explores how the funding choices of banking systems and corporates affected their resilience during the early stages of Covid and whether subsequent policy actions were effective at mitigating financial stress. The results suggest that policy responses targeting specific structural vulnerabilities were successful at reducing financial stress.

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Understanding climate-related disclosures of UK financial institutions

Jonathan Acosta-Smith, Benjamin Guin, Mauricio Salgado-Moreno and Quynh-Anh Vo

Over the past years, a growing consensus has acknowledged the need to construct a ‘system [wherein] every financial decision takes climate change into account‘. While such a system is still far from reality, market participants already produce and demand an increasing amount of climate-related information. Equally, many authorities around the world are considering mandatory climate-related reporting. These developments raise myriad unanswered questions. We focus on the following in a recent working paper:

  1. How have voluntary, climate-related disclosures of UK financial institutions changed over time?
  2. Can prudential regulators influence current climate-reporting levels just by announcing a future shift to mandatory reporting?

This post summarises the main insights from this paper.

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The gravity of cross-border syndication ties in financial services trade

Luke Heath Milsom, Vladimír Pažitka, Isabelle Roland and Dariusz Wójcik

Exports of financial services decline with geographical distance at a rate comparable to that for international trade in goods (eg, Portes and Rey (2005)). This is surprising since there are no transportation costs involved. The consensus is that distance is a proxy for information frictions. We show how cross-border syndication can help overcome information barriers to trade in financial services. We zoom in on the equity underwriting industry where international syndicates reduce information asymmetry between issuers and investors located in different countries.

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