Funding liquidity risk: definition and measurement

BIS Working Papers No 316
July 2010


Funding liquidity risk has played a key role in all historical banking crises. Nevertheless, a measure based on publicly available data remains so far elusive. We address this gap by showing that aggressive bidding at central bank auctions reveals funding liquidity risk. We can extract an insurance premium from banks' bids which we propose as measure of funding liquidity risk. Using a unique data set consisting of all bids in the main refinancing operation auctions conducted at the ECB between June 2005 and October 2008 we find that funding liquidity risk is typically stable and low, with occasional spikes, especially around key events during the recent crisis. We also document downward spirals between funding liquidity risk and market liquidity. As measurement without clear definitions is impossible, we initially provide definitions of funding liquidity and funding liquidity risk.

JEL Classification: E58, G21

Keywords: funding liquidity, liquidity risk, bidding behavior, central bank auctions, interbank markets