Sunday, January 22, 2012

22/1/2012: What do interbank lending rates tell us about risk valuations?

Here is an interesting set of charts for euribor:

Notice that as maturity span shortens, there is an increasingly rapid decline in the rates in recent month. This, of course, is a reflection of two forces acting simultaneously - the ECB LTRO and the rate drop in December. You can see this here in the context of 12 months euribor plot for end-of-month (and end of last week for January 2012):

Sounds good? Indeed, the short-term end of liquidity curve improved dramatically, but... here's a trick - the long-term end of the curve is not improving as much as (1) the repo rate supports, and (2) LTRO (3 year facility) should lead it to. To see this - here's a chart:

And the above term premium is rising despite the risk premium falling:

Note: the last chart above is not seasonally adjusted and, with exception for 2010, euribor rates tend to fall seasonally in January compared to December.

In fact, current risk premia are well above the long-term relations and at more extreme end of the spectrum than during the previous months:

The above suggests to me that what we are observing in the liquidity markets is a combination of some improvement due to ECB's LTRO move (substitution along maturity curve) and the (very) incomplete pass through of ECB rate change to funding markets. There appears to be no evidence in risk reduction anywhere in sight.

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