U.s. Treasury Repurchase Agreements

A sale/buy-back is the cash sale and pre-line repurchase of a security. These are two separate pure elements of the cash market, one for settlement in advance. The futures price is set against the spot price in order to obtain a market return. The basic motivation of Sell/Buybacks is generally the same as in the case of a conventional repo (i.e. the attempt to take advantage of the lower financing rates generally available for secured loans, unlike unsecured loans). The profitability of the transaction is also similar, with interest on the money borrowed from the sale/purchase being implicitly included in the difference between the sale price and the purchase price. A pension purchase contract (repo) is a form of short-term borrowing for government bond traders. In the case of a repot, a trader sells government bonds to investors, usually overnight, and buys them back the next day at a slightly higher price. This small price difference is the implied day-to-day rate.

Deposits are generally used to obtain short-term capital. They are also a common instrument of central bank open market operations. The parties agree to cancel the transaction, usually the next day. This transaction is called a reverse repurchase agreement. Market participants often use pension and EIS transactions to purchase funds or use funds for short periods of time. However, transactions in which the central bank is not a party do not affect the total reserves of the banking system. The buy-back contract, or “repo,” the market is an opaque but important part of the financial system, which has recently attracted increasing attention. On average, $2 trillion to $4 trillion in pension transactions are traded every day — guaranteed short-term loans. But how does the pension market work, and what about it? A pension transaction is when buyers buy securities from the seller for cash and agree to cancel the transaction on a given date. It works as a short-term secured loan.

Beginning in late 2008, the Fed and other regulators adopted new rules to address these and other concerns. One consequence of these rules was to increase pressure on banks to maintain their safest assets, such as Treasuries. They are encouraged not to borrow them through boarding agreements. According to Bloomberg, the impact of the regulation was significant: at the end of 2008, the estimated value of the world securities borrowed was nearly $4 trillion.