Fire-sale spillovers and systemic risk
We construct a new systemic risk measure that quantifies vulnerability to fire-sale spillovers using detailed regulatory balance-sheet data for U.S. commercial banks and repo market data for broker-dealers. Even for moderate shocks in normal times, fire-sale externalities can be substantial. For commercial banks, a 1 percent exogenous shock to assets in the first quarter of 2013 produces fire-sale externalities equal to 10 percent of system equity. For broker-dealers, a 0.1 percent shock to assets in August 2013 generates spillover losses equivalent to almost 6 percent of system equity. Externalities during the last financial crisis are between two and three times larger. Our systemic risk measure reaches a peak in the fall of 2008 but shows a notable increase starting in 2005, ahead of many other systemic risk indicators. Although the largest banks and broker-dealers produce—and are victims of—most of the externalities, leverage and "connectedness" of financial institutions also play important roles.
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