This note analyzes the stress experienced (and caused) by open-end mutual funds during the March COVID-19 stress episode, with a focus on global fixed-income funds. In light of increased valuation uncertainty, funds experienced a short period of intense withdrawals while the market liquidity of their holdings deteriorated substantially. To cover redemptions, afflicted funds predominantly shed liquid assets first—for example, cash, cash equivalents, and US Treasury securities. But forced asset sales amplified price pressures in markets and contributed to liquidity falling across fixed-income markets. This drop in market liquidity, as well as the general stress in financial markets, may have led to fund investors becoming even more sensitive to challenging portfolio performance and encouraged further withdrawals. Only after central banks intervened, directly and indirectly supporting asset managers, did liquidity and redemption stress subside. Overall, the March episode validated the financial-stability concerns about liquidity vulnerabilities in the fund industry and calls for further action to address them.
Mr. Adolfo Barajas, Andrea Deghi, Mr. Salih Fendoglu, and Yizhi Xu
This note analyzes recent trends in offshore US dollar funding markets and explores the drivers of dollar funding costs during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Preliminary evidence suggests that only part of the sharp increase in observed dollar funding costs can be attributed to the standard supply- and demand-side factors analyzed in the October 2019 Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR), including the dollar funding fragility of non-US global banks. Changes in market structure since the global financial crisis, as well as heightened uncertainty and tensions in the commercial paper market, may provide further explanations for the movements in dollar funding costs in late March 2020. The US Federal Reserve’s swap line arrangements have helped lessen strains in dollar funding markets, but funding pressure remains significant for some emerging market economies, notably those with-out access to the swap lines. Furthermore, tighter dollar funding conditions appear to have accompanied increases in financial stress in the home economies of affected non-US global banks and to have generated adverse spill-over effects in the form of cutbacks in cross-border lending.