21 October 2016
Reporter: Drew Nicol

CMF: IRS swaps under pressure

The rise of central clearing might have sent the traditional swaps market into a death spiral, according to a speaker at Fleming's Collateral Management Forum in Amsterdam.

Delegates at the conference heard that the notional value of uncleared interest rate swaps (IRS) has been in free fall since 2014 and still shows no sign of slowing.

Since June 2014, as much as $48 trillion has been wiped off the notional value of the IRS market, bringing the total value down to $74 trillion as of the end of 2015.

The speaker emphasised that some saw the introduction of central clearing as the death knell for the "old-style swaps market".

According to the speaker, some of these "doomsday sayers" have predicting that up to 90 percent of notional value will disappear from the market over the next five years as a new margining framework takes effect.

However, when polled on the topic, conference attendees presented themselves as far more bullish, with 71 percent acknowledging that the situation was 'bleak' but believed this was just a transitional phase for the swaps market.

"I think the doomsday sayers are being a bit extreme and I agree with the audience that this is a transitional phase," concluded the speaker.

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