Ten propositions about liquidity crises

BIS Working Papers No 293
November 2009

Abstract:

What are liquidity crises? And what can be done to address them? This short paper brings together some personal reflections on this issue, largely based on previous work. In the process, it questions a number of commonly held beliefs that have become part of the conventional wisdom. The paper is organised around ten propositions that cover the following issues: the distinction between idiosyncratic and systematic elements of liquidity crises; the growing reliance on funding liquidity in a market-based financial system; the role of payment and settlement systems; the need to improve liquidity buffers; the desirability of putting in place (variable) speed limits in the financial system; the proper role of (retail) deposit insurance schemes; the double-edged sword nature of liquidity provision by central banks; the often misunderstood role of "monetary base" injections in addressing liquidity disruptions; the need to develop principles for the provision of central bank liquidity; and the need to reconsider the preventive role of monetary (interest rate) policy.

JEL Classification Numbers: E50, E51, E58, G10, G14, G18, G28

Keywords: market and funding liquidity, liquidity crises, deposit insurance, central bank operations, monetary base