No. 928 - Central bank refinancing, interbank markets, and the hypothesis of liquidity hoarding: evidence from a euro-area banking system

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by Massimiliano Affinito September 2013

This paper tests the hypothesis of liquidity hoarding in the Italian banking system during the 2007-2011 global financial crisis. According to this hypothesis, in periods of crisis, interbank markets stop working and central banks' interventions are ineffective because banks hoard the liquidity injected rather than channelling it on to other banks and the real economy. The test uses monthly data at banking-group level for all intermediaries operating in Italy between January 1999 and August 2011. This is the first paper to use micro data to analyse the relationship between single banks' positions vis-à-vis the central bank and the interbank market. The results show that the Italian interbank market functioned well even during the crisis, and, contrary to widespread conjecture, the liquidity injected by the Eurosystem was intermediated among banks and towards the real economy. This finding is robust to the use of several estimation methods and data on the different segments of the money market.