January 2020 (Revised May 2022)

Central Clearing and Systemic Liquidity Risk

Thomas King, Travis D. Nesmith, Anna Paulson, and Todd Prono


By stepping between bilateral counterparties, central counterparties (CCPs) transform credit exposure, thereby improving financial stability. But, large CCPs are concentrated and interconnected with major global banks. Moreover, although they mitigate credit risk, CCPs create liquidity risks, because they require participants to provide cash. Such requirements increase with market volatility; consequently, CCP liquidity needs are inherently procyclical. This procyclicality makes it more challenging to assess CCPs’ resilience in the rare event that one or more large financial institutions default. Liquidity-focused macroprudential stress tests could help to assess and manage this systemic liquidity risk.

Keywords: Financial systems; Central counterparties; CCPs; margin; liquidity risk; systemic risk; financial stability; procyclicality

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2020.009r1

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Last Update: July 13, 2022