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Foreign Exchange

Record days and lack of liquidity: Smoke and mirrors, spin and liquidity

The world of FX is full of contradictions and even though last month saw several platforms recording record days, it was also not uncommon to hear that liquidity had dried up. Here's Lee Oliver's view of what's really going on.

Even before the market went garrity in mid-August, several muckers had predicted that trouble was brewing. Some of this was based on useful knowledge that they’d gleamed from their contacts in the credit market combined with a realistic appraisal of the problems that were about to come home to roost. “You can’t polish a turd,” one of them warned me about the CDO market.

In early July, one of my contacts had suggested that I should write an article on what he described as the asymmetric relationship between banks and hedge funds. This, he argued, gave the funds access to greater liquidity than the liquidity providers themselves had access to – and it was being abused. When I mentioned that I was going to write the piece, he made another request. “Could you title it ‘Arbing ‘kin’ b*st*rds’?”

In the September issue of Euromoney, I take a look at the possibility that the surge in volumes seen in spot may well be disguising the fact that there are several faultlines running through the broader FX market, many of which centre round the relations between the sell and buy side.

The world of FX is full of contradictions and even though last month saw several platforms recording record days, it was also not uncommon to hear that liquidity had dried up.

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