Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Counterparty risk in credit markets

As pension funds increasingly seek to efficiently manage their balance sheets, they invariably come to rely on OTC derivatives, by way of which they become exposed to counterparty risk. On 20 February, thus shortly before 16 March which saw the US Fed-assisted emergency neutralisation of Bear Stearns counterparty risk, Barclays Capital issued a research note that assessed the transmission vectors and systemic fallout of a major counterparty's default. The knock-on effects due to immediate re-pricing of credit risk would amount to an estimated USD 36 - 47 bio for an imputed outstanding notional of USD 2'000 bio. Bear Stearns' notional was well over six times that number.

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