Central bank swap lines: micro-level evidence

Staff working papers set out research in progress by our staff, with the aim of encouraging comments and debate.
Published on 06 May 2022

Staff Working Paper No. 977

By Gerardo Ferrara, Philippe Mueller, Ganesh Viswanath-Natraj and Junxuan Wang

In this paper we investigate the price, volatility and micro-level effects of central bank swap lines during the 2020 pandemic. These policies lowered the ceiling on covered interest rate parity violations and reduced volatility following settlement of swap line auctions. We then combine dealer-level dollar repo auctions by the Bank of England with a trade repository that includes the universe of FX forward and swap contracts traded in the UK. We find evidence of a substitution channel: dealers that draw on swap lines reduce their demand for dollars at the forward leg in the FX market. We also find evidence that dealers that draw on swap lines increased their net supply of dollars to non-financial institutions, supporting the rationale for swap lines in providing cross-border liquidity to the real economy.

Central bank swap lines: micro-level evidence

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