Staff Working Paper No. 910
By Anne-Caroline Hüser, Caterina Lepore and Luitgard Veraart
We examine how the overnight gilt repo market operates during three episodes of liquidity stress, using novel transaction-level data on repurchase agreements on gilts. Using network analysis we document that the structure of the repo market significantly changes during stress relative to normal times, with a focus on how sectors adjust volumes, spreads and haircuts in their repo transactions. We find several common patterns in the two most recent stress episodes (the US repo turmoil in 2019 and the Covid-19 crisis in 2020): a preference for dealers and banks to transact in the cleared rather than the bilateral segment of the market, increased usage of the market by hedge funds and central counterparties increasing their reinvestment of cash margin into reverse repo.