Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oakley and Atkins: Central banks seek exits as markets regain their poise

The US Federal Reserve has also stopped buying US Treasuries, while many strategists believe the Bank of England is unlikely to extend its £200bn ($336bn) quantitative easing programme, which involves mostly buying UK government bonds.

The normalising of money markets is reflected in indicators such as the spread between three-month Libor and overnight market rates - a measure of credit risk. These spreads have narrowed to about 20 basis points for all the main currencies, levels last seen before Lehman went bankrupt. After the bank went under, these spreads jumped to over 300bp, reflecting heightened risk aversion by banks towards other banks.

Another sign of the normalising of the market is conveyed in the narrowing between the rates for unsecured and secured lending.

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