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Did liquidity providers become liquidity seekers?

  • Jaewon Choi
  • Or Shachar

The misalignment between corporate bond and credit default swap (CDS) spreads (i.e., CDS-fbond basis) during the 2007-09 financial crisis is often attributed to corporate bond dealers shedding off their inventory, right when liquidity was scarce. This paper documents evidence against this widespread perception. In the months following Lehman’s collapse, dealers, including proprietary trading desks in investment banks, provided liquidity in response to the large selling by clients. Corporate bond inventory of dealers rose sharply as a result. Although providing liquidity, limits to arbitrage, possibly in the form of limited capital, obstructed the convergence of the basis. We further show that the unwinding of precrisis “basis trades” by hedge funds is the main driver of the large negative basis. Price drops following Lehman’s collapse were concentrated among bonds with available CDS contracts and high activity in basis trades. Overall, our results indicate that hedge funds that serve as alternative liquidity providers at times, not dealers, caused the disruption in the credit market.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 650.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:650
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  1. Andrei Shleifer ad Robert W. Vishny, 1995. "The Limits of Arbitrage," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1725, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Mitchell, Mark & Pulvino, Todd, 2012. "Arbitrage crashes and the speed of capital," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 469-490.
  3. Roberto Blanco & Simon Brennan & Ian W. Marsh, 2005. "An Empirical Analysis of the Dynamic Relation between Investment-Grade Bonds and Credit Default Swaps," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(5), pages 2255-2281, October.
  4. Francis A. Longstaff & Sanjay Mithal & Eric Neis, 2005. "Corporate Yield Spreads: Default Risk or Liquidity? New Evidence from the Credit Default Swap Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(5), pages 2213-2253, October.
  5. Viral V. Acharya & S. Viswanathan, 2010. "Leverage, Moral Hazard and Liquidity," NBER Working Papers 15837, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Nicolae G�rleanu & Lasse Heje Pedersen, 2011. "Margin-based Asset Pricing and Deviations from the Law of One Price," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(6), pages 1980-2022.
  7. Patrick Houweling & Ton Vorst, 2001. "An Empirical Comparison of Default Swap Pricing Models," Finance 0112003, EconWPA.
  8. Adrian, Tobias & Shin, Hyun Song, 2010. "Liquidity and leverage," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 418-437, July.
  9. repec:dgr:uvatin:2002004 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Paul Schultz, 2001. "Corporate Bond Trading Costs: A Peek Behind the Curtain," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(2), pages 677-698, 04.
  11. Patrick Bolton & Martin Oehmke, 2010. "Credit Default Swaps and the Empty Creditor Problem," NBER Working Papers 15999, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Alessio Saretto & Heather E. Tookes, 2013. "Corporate Leverage, Debt Maturity, and Credit Supply: The Role of Credit Default Swaps," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(5), pages 1190-1247.
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