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Trends in credit market arbitrage

Author

Listed:
  • Nina Boyarchenko
  • Pooja Gupta
  • Nick Steele
  • Jacqueline Yen

Abstract

Market participants and policymakers alike were surprised by the large, prolonged dislocations in credit market arbitrage trades during the second half of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016. In this paper, we examine three explanations proposed by market participants: increased idiosyncratic risks, strategic positioning by some market participants, and regulatory changes. We find some evidence of increased idiosyncratic risk during the relevant period but limited evidence of asset managers changing their positioning in derivative products. While we cannot quantify the contribution of these two channels to the overall spreads, the relative changes in idiosyncratic risk levels and in asset managers' derivatives positions appear small relative to the post-crisis increase in cost of capital. We present the mechanics of the CDS-bond arbitrage trade, tracing its impact on a stylized dealer balance sheet and the return-on-equity (ROE) calculation. We find that, given current levels of regulatory leverage, the CDS-bond basis would need to be significantly more negative relative to pre-crisis levels to achieve the same ROE target.

Suggested Citation

  • Nina Boyarchenko & Pooja Gupta & Nick Steele & Jacqueline Yen, 2016. "Trends in credit market arbitrage," Staff Reports 784, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:784
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tobias Adrian & Nina Boyarchenko, 2012. "Intermediary leverage cycles and financial stability," Staff Reports 567, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, revised 01 Feb 2015.
    2. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Yuliy Sannikov, 2014. "A Macroeconomic Model with a Financial Sector," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(2), pages 379-421, February.
    3. Mitchell, Mark & Pulvino, Todd, 2012. "Arbitrage crashes and the speed of capital," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 469-490.
    4. Zhiguo He & Arvind Krishnamurthy, 2013. "Intermediary Asset Pricing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(2), pages 732-770, April.
    5. Tobias Adrian & Nina Boyarchenko, 2012. "Intermediary leverage cycles and financial stability," Staff Reports 567, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    6. Trapp, Monika, 2009. "Trading the bond-CDS basis: The role of credit risk and liquidity," CFR Working Papers 09-16, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
    7. Amit Goyal & Pedro Santa-Clara, 2003. "Idiosyncratic Risk Matters!," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(3), pages 975-1008, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Adrian, Tobias & Boyarchenko, Nina & Shachar, Or, 2017. "Dealer balance sheets and bond liquidity provision," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 92-109.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    M-CAPM; CDS basis; capital requirements;

    JEL classification:

    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors

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