Fire Sales in Frozen Markets

Author/Editor:

Ehsan Ebrahimy

Publication Date:

May 6, 2019

Electronic Access:

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Disclaimer: IMF Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to encourage debate. The views expressed in IMF Working Papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF, its Executive Board, or IMF management.

Summary:

It is challenging to explain the collapse in the price of subprime mortgage-backed securities (MBS) during the Financial Crisis of 2008, using the existing models of fire-sale. I present a model to demonstrate that fire-sales may happen even when there is a relatively sizable pool of natural buyers and in the absence of asymmetric information, due to a coordination failure among buyers: buyers’ waiting to trade at a lower price tomorrow, can lead to a collapse in the price and trade volume today. In particular, I show that when trade is decentralized and participation is endogenous, a medium level of asset demand and liquidity needs that are ex-pected to increase over time create complementarity among buyers’ decisions to wait. This complementarity makes competitive markets prone to coordination failures and fire-sales accompanied by a collapse in the trade volume. Fire-sales may also be inefficient. I also discuss various policy options to eliminate the risk of fire-sales in such a setup.

Series:

Working Paper No. 19/92

Subject:

English

Publication Date:

May 6, 2019

ISBN/ISSN:

9781498303804/1018-5941

Stock No:

WPIEA2019092

Price:

$18.00 (Academic Rate:$18.00)

Format:

Paper

Pages:

39

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