The U.S. money market has the shakes

We identify three factors that explain the mismatch between supply and demand on the money market:

  • Technical factors such as liquidity needs for tax collection purposes or regulatory aspects, though they do not represent an entirely convincing explanation for us.
  • A larger volume of debt issuance by the U.S. Treasury, despite normally being well coordinated and telegraphed to banks.
  • ¬†Margin calls, i.e. liquidity flows related to the functioning of the derivative markets.

In our view, the situation needs to be closely monitored for the following reasons:

  • Wholesale funding, which in the past nurtured risky activities and contributed to the subprime crisis, has not totally disappeared.
  • New episodes of stress on the U.S. money market could have repercussion effects on the credit market, which is close to a bubble situation.
  • Smaller banking institutions could suffer from more difficult access to liquidity funding, meaning that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) (mainly financed by smaller banks) could in turn be exposed to tighter credit conditions and therefore higher risk.
  • Any accident in the U.S. money market would potentially create a shortage of liquidity at a global level, with severe consequences for emerging economies.
  • With tightened access to cash, highly leveraged investors could face difficulties in financing, for example, their margin calls, and therefore be incited to initiate fire sales with a strong and negative impact on the markets.

Contact

Eric Barthalon
Allianz SE
Alexis Garatti
Euler Hermes