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Precautionary hoarding of liquidity and inter-bank markets: Evidence from the sub-prime crisis

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  • Acharya, Viral V
  • Merrouche, Ouarda

Abstract

We study the liquidity demand of large settlement (first-tier) banks in the UK and its effect on the Sterling Money Markets before and during the sub-prime crisis of 2007-08. Liquidity holdings of large settlement banks experienced on average a 30% increase in the period immediately following 9th August, 2007, the day when money markets froze, igniting the crisis. In the UK, unlike in the US until October 2008, the remuneration of reserves accounts provides strong incentives for banks to park liquidity at the central bank rather than lend in the market. We show that following this structural break, settlement bank liquidity had a precautionary nature in that it rose on calendar days with a large amount of payment activity and for banks with greater credit risk. We establish that the liquidity demand by settlement banks caused overnight inter-bank rates to rise and volumes to decline, an effect virtually absent in the pre-crisis period. This liquidity effect on inter-bank rates occurred in both unsecured borrowing as well as borrowing secured by UK government bonds. Further, using bilateral data we show that the effect was more strongly linked to lender risk than to borrower risk.

Suggested Citation

  • Acharya, Viral V & Merrouche, Ouarda, 2012. "Precautionary hoarding of liquidity and inter-bank markets: Evidence from the sub-prime crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 8859, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8859
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    cash; contagion; counterparty risk; funding risk; money markets; rollover risk; systemic risk;

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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