Current Issues in Economics and Finance

The Global Financial Crisis and Offshore Dollar Markets

October 2009Volume 15, Number 6
JEL classification: G10, G20

Authors: Niall Coffey, Warren B. Hrung, Hoai-Luu Nguyen, and Asani Sarkar

Facing a shortage of U.S. dollars and a growing need to support their dollar-denominated assets during the financial crisis, international firms increasingly turned to the foreign exchange swap market and other secured funding sources. An analysis of the ensuing strains in the swap market shows that the dollar “basis”—the premium international institutions pay for dollar funding—became persistently large and positive, chiefly as a result of the higher funding costs paid by smaller firms and non-U.S. banks. The widening of the basis underscores the severity and breadth of the crisis as markets designed to facilitate the flow of dollars faltered and institutions worldwide struggled to obtain funds.

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