Posted by on December 14, 2016 3:23 pm
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Categories: Bundesbank Business Central Banks Collateral Credit ECB council ECB Governing Council Economy European Central Bank Eurozone Finance Liability Loans money Repo Market Repurchase agreement Securities lending Systemic risk

When the ECB announced last week that it would expand the universe of eligible collateral for use by Eurozone institutions to include up to €50 billion in cash cash, it – and the market – hoped that the severe collateral shortage manifesting itself in an unprecedented squeeze in the repo market would be alleviated. As a reminder, last Thursday the ECB Governing Council decided that Eurosystem central banks will have the possibility to also accept cash as collateral in their PSPP securities lending (SL) facilities without having to reinvest it in a cash-neutral manner.

The ECB added that “the introduction of cash as collateral in the context of PSPP securities lending is intended to enhance the effectiveness of the SL framework, thereby supporting the smooth implementation of the PSPP as well as the euro area repo market liquidity and functioning. “

Following the news, 2Year Bunds quickly sold off last Thursday, with the yield rising by 6 bps to start, as suddenly it makes more sense to park cash with the ECB than to be penalized by -0.7% to hold German short-term debt.

However, it was not meant to last, and less than a week later, even with overall Eurogroup liquidity hitting new all time highs earlier this week, German 2Y yields fell as much as 2.9bps to all time low of -0.773% as repo pressures continue to support the front-end, Bloomberg reported citing two traders.

The traders added that the €50 billion in securities lending put forward by the ECB are seen as not enough, with structural issues remaining, exacerbated by year-end window dressing.

Additionally, a second trader added that some dealers prefer not to trade with the Bundesbank, due to higher failure fees.

Curiously, while Schatz futures rise to all time high of 112.275, downside continues to be bought in options, says a third trader based in London with a buyer again emerging in Feb. Schatz 112.00/111.90 put spread, 17k trades at 1 tick.

Should the collateral squeeze continue, the ECB may be forced to unveil further intervention mechanisms, as well as additional jawboning by Mario Draghi, potentially before the next scheduled ECB council meeting, especially if the year-end repo shortage drives 2Y yields meaningfully lower.

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