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Economic Liquidity Essay

1037 words - 5 pages

A liquid asset has some or all of the following features. It can be sold rapidly, with minimal loss of value, any time within market hours. The essential characteristic of a liquid market is that there are always ready and willing buyers and sellers. Another elegant definition of liquidity is the probability that the next trade is executed at a price equal to the last one.[citation needed] A market may be considered deeply liquid if there are ready and willing buyers and sellers in large quantities. This is related to market depth that can be measured as the units that can be sold or bought for a given price impact. The opposite is that of market breadth measured as the price impact per unit ...view middle of the document...

[citation needed]
Speculators and market makers are key contributors to the liquidity of a market, or asset. Speculators and market makers are individuals or institutions that seek to profit from anticipated increases or decreases in a particular market price. By doing this, they provide the capital needed to facilitate the liquidity. The risk of illiquidity need not apply only to individual investments: whole portfolios are subject to market risk. Financial institutions and asset managers that oversee portfolios are subject to what is called "structural" and "contingent" liquidity risk. Structural liquidity risk, sometimes called funding liquidity risk, is the risk associated with funding asset portfolios in the normal course of business. Contingent liquidity risk is the risk associated with finding additional funds or replacing maturing liabilities under potential, future stressed market conditions. When a central bank tries to influence the liquidity (supply) of money, this process is known as open market operations.
The market liquidity of assets affects their prices and expected returns. Theory and empirical evidence suggests that investors require higher return on assets with lower market liquidity to compensate them for the higher cost of trading these assets. That is, for an asset with given cash flow, the higher its market liquidity, the higher its price and the lower is its expected return. In addition, risk-averse investors require higher expected return if the asset’s market-liquidity risk is greater. This risk involves the exposure of the asset return to shocks in overall market liquidity, the exposure of the asset own liquidity to shocks in market liquidity and the effect of market return on the asset’s own liquidity. Here too, the higher the liquidity risk, the higher the expected return on the asset or the lower is its price.
In the futures markets, there is no assurance that a liquid market may exist for offsetting a commodity contract at all times. Some future contracts and specific delivery months tend to have increasingly more trading activity and have higher liquidity than others. The...

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