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Capital Markets

ETFs, portfolio trades keep corporate debt liquid

When the panic of March 2020 hit, did corporate debt fare better than Treasuries?

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Spreads certainly blew out in the worst of the dislocation, but market participants say that while liquidity in the poorest credits was squeezed, in general the market for corporate bonds functioned well.

That’s in spite of chatter that since the global financial crisis, in a similar way to the Treasuries market, regulation that makes balance sheets more expensive or that curbs proprietary trading has stymied banks’ ability or willingness to hold inventory or intermediate the trading of corporate debt.

But two things are worth noting.

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Jonny Fine, Goldman Sachs

First, comparisons with pre-2008 liquidity in the corporate bond market are often flawed.

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