Central banks moved away from easy money policies and changed course. Not only the interest rate hikes but also the liquidity withdrawals have affected the markets and will continue to do so. After years of quantitative easing with ballooning balance sheets, the regime shift means that central banks will no longer backstop markets – unless there is a severe recession. The withdrawal of liquidity by central banks through unwinding of maturing bond holdings, combined with active selling and reverse repo transactions, has increased volatility in all asset classes. Understanding the ongoing impact of central bank flows in 2023 is a key alpha contributor for managers of liquid fixed income mandates.
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