A money market is a market where money or its equivalent can be traded, money being a synonym for liquidity. Money markets consist of financial institutions and dealers in money or credit who wish to generate liquidity. It is better known as a place where large institutions and government manage their short term cash needs. For the generation of liquidity, short term borrowing and lending is done by these financial institutions and dealers. A money market is part of financial market where instruments with high liquidity and very short term maturities are traded. Due to highly liquid nature of securities and their short term maturities, the money market is treated as a safe place.Therefore, money market is a market where short term obligations such as treasury bills, commercial papers and banker’s acceptances are bought and sold.
Benefits and functions of Money Market: Money markets exist to facilitate efficient transfer of short-term funds between holders and borrowers of cash assets. For the lender/investor, it provides a good return on their funds. For the borrower, it enables rapid and relatively inexpensive acquisition of cash to cover short-term liabilities. One of the primary functions of the money market is to provide focal point for RBI’s intervention for influencing liquidity and general levels of interest rates in the economy. RBI is the the main constituent in the money market aims at ensuring that liquidity and short term interest rates are consistent with the monetary policy objectives.
Money Market & Capital Market: Money Market is a place for short term lending and borrowing, typically within a year. It deals in short term debt financing and investments. On the other hand, Capital Market refers to stock market, which refers to trading in shares and bonds of companies on recognized stock exchanges. Individual players cannot invest in money market as the value of investments is large, on the other hand, in capital market, anybody can make investments through a broker. Stock Market is associated with high risk and high return as against money market which is more secure. Further, in case of money market, deals are transacted on phone or through electronic systems as against capital market where trading is through recognized stock exchanges.
Money Market Futures and Options: Active trading in money market futures and options occurs on number of commodity exchanges. They function in the similar manner like any other futures and options.
Money Market Instruments: Investment in money markets is done through money market instruments. Money market instruments meets short term requirements of the borrowers and provides liquidity to the lenders. Common Money Market Instruments are as follows:
- Treasury Bills (T-Bills): Treasury Bills, one of the safest money market instruments, are short term borrowing instruments of the Central Government of the Country issued through the Central Bank (RBI in India). They are zero risk instruments, and hence the returns are not so attractive.
- Repurchase Agreements: Repurchase transactions, called Repo or Reverse Repo are transactions or short term loans in which two parties agree to sell and repurchase the same security. They are usually used for overnight borrowing. Repo/Reverse Repo transactions can be done only between the parties approved by RBI and in RBI approved securities viz. GOI and State Govt Securities, T-Bills, PSU Bonds, FI Bonds, Corporate Bonds etc.
- Commercial Papers: Commercial paper is a low-cost alternative to bank loans. It is a short term unsecured promissory note issued by corporates and financial institutions at a discounted value on face value. They are usually issued with fixed maturity between one to 270 days and for financing of accounts receivables, inventories and meeting short term liabilities. Say, for example, a company has receivables of Rs 1 lacs with credit period 6 months. It will not be able to liquidate its receivables before 6 months. The company is in need of funds, so it can issue commercial papers in form of unsecured promissory notes at discount of 10% on face value of Rs 1 lacs to be matured after 6 months.
- Certificate of Deposit: It is a short term borrowing more like a bank term deposit account. It is a promissory note issued by a bank in form of a certificate entitling the bearer to receive interest. The certificate bears the maturity date, the fixed rate of interest and the value. It can be issued in any denomination.
- Banker’s Acceptance: It is a short term credit investment created by a non-financial firm and guaranteed by a bank to make payment. It is simply a bill of exchange drawn by a person and accepted by a bank. It is a buyer’s promise to pay to the seller a certain specified amount at certain date. The same is guaranteed by the banker of the buyer in exchange for a claim on the goods as collateral.