Risk and liquidity in a system context

BIS Working Papers No 212
August 2006

On 11-12 November 2005, the BIS held a workshop on Accounting, risk management and prudential regulation, which brought together a multi-disciplinary group of around 35 external participants including senior accounting practitioners, standard setters, finance academics, supervisors and central bank officials. The workshop programme is attached. This paper was presented at the workshop.


This paper explores the pricing of debt in a financial system where the assets that borrowers hold to meet their obligations include claims against other borrowers. Assessing financial claims in a system context captures features that are missing in a partial equilibrium setting. It is possible for spreads to fall as debts rise, as debt-fuelled increases in asset prices and stronger balance sheets reinforce each other. Conversely, it is possible that de-leveraging leads to increases in spreads, as is often observed during crises.

JEL classification: D5, G12, M4.

Keywords: Asset prices, leverage, liquidity, systemic risk