New research from Greenwich Associates reveals that European fixed-income markets were undergoing a transformation in the run-up to the global credit crunch. While many of the changes experienced in the 12 months prior to the summer of 2007 came to an abrupt halt with the outbreak of the ongoing global liquidity crisis, it remains an open question as to which products, practices and trends will recover and reemerge as permanent market features, and which are gone for good. Customer trading volumes in the European fixed-income market had been growing at a steady 8% for the two years leading up to the summer 2007 start of the liquidity crisis. UK fixed-income trading volume surged by nearly 32% and more than 40% excluding interest-rate and structured credit derivatives from 2006-2007. In July and August, trading in many fixed-income products ground to a complete and sudden halt. The research also found structured product proliferation: Trading volumes in structured credit products more than doubled and CDO trading volume increased more than 70% in the year before the crisis. When surveyed in September, 50% of participating European institutions said the performance of CDOs and other structured products during the liquidity event had made them less likely to invest in these products going forward. The research also found product diversification and hedge fund expansion in European fixed-income markets.
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