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Bond flows and liquidity: do foreigners matter?

In their search for yield in the current low interest rate environment, many investors have turned to sovereign debt in emerging economies, which has raised concerns about risks to financial stability from these capital flows. To assess this risk, we study the effects of changes in the foreign-held share of Mexican sovereign bonds on their liquidity premiums. We find that recent increases in foreign holdings of these securities have played a significant role in driving up their liquidity premiums. Provided the higher compensation for bearing liquidity risk is commensurate with the chance of a major foreign-led sell-off in the Mexican government bond market, this development may not pose a material risk to its financial stability.