Modelling Swedish bond market activity : A liquidity proxy using potential and executed trades

University essay from KTH/Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.)

Abstract: Bond markets are crucial for the stability and efficiency of the national financial system. Low liquidity prevents market developments and makes investors reluctant to trade actively. It is therefore crucial to maintain liquidity in bond markets. This thesis aims to investigate investor activity and liquidity in the Swedish government and mortgage bond markets. By creating indices using a combination of public trading data (actual trades) and private trading data (potential trades) to measure investor activity, a new liquidity proxy is created. The indices capture two aspects of investor activity, both the quantity of the bonds as well as the trading frequency. High levels of activity imply a liquid market and low levels of activity imply a lack of liquidity. Since Swedish and international investors are exposed to different risks even when investing in the same market, this thesis has segmented investors into four groups: Swedish investors in the government bond market, Swedish investors in the mortgage bond market, foreign investors in the government bond market and foreign investors in the mortgage bond market. To further understand the driving factors of market activity, regression analysis is conducted. From the existing literature a total of 11 potential explanatory variables have been identified. Due to the various market conditions in each investor group, it is no surprise that the variables influence the groups differently. Bond market return, short term interest rate and term risk structure are found to be highly significant for all investor groups. Moreover, stock market return and macroeconomic news are identified to be relevant variables when explaining shifts in investor behaviour. Positive developments in bond and stock market returns boost investor activity, while negative developments halt activity. Short term interest rate and the term risk spread are found to have similar effects, positive influence in the government bond market and negative influence in the mortgage bond market. For international investors, two spreads reflecting Swedish market conditions in relation to international benchmarks are included in the analysis. Both spreads are found to be highly significant, indicating that foreign investors choose to trade in the bond markets with the most desirable conditions.

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