The innocuous looking graphic below from this WSJ story ($) has more than a few people worrying a little more today than they did yesterday about what might go wrong in the financial system as we bear down on the worst two months of the year for equities.
According to the report, the repo market is “a critical part of the plumbing that keeps money flowing”, enabling “hedge funds, investment banks and other financial firms to borrow and lend short-term funds, often overnight” and has recently seen some lenders pull back due to new regulations.
A less sanguine take can be found in this item at Quartz that characterizes repos thusly:
The bottom line is that repos are leverage. They are a way for banks to use borrowed money, instead of their own, to take positions in the market. When times are good this works pretty well. But in a crisis, things get bad quickly.
Just in case you needed it, that’s one more thing you can worry about.