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What Is Liquidity

By News Canvass | Mar 18, 2023


  • Liquidity is the ability of a financial asset or security to be promptly and easily changed into cash without losing value. The most liquid asset is cash on its own.
  • How fast and easily a security or asset can be converted into cash without losing value is referred to as “liquidity.”
  • Cash is the most liquid asset, whereas tangible items are the least liquid. The two main types of liquidity are market liquidity and accounting liquidity.
  • Current, quick, and cash ratios are the techniques that are most frequently used to evaluate liquidity.

Liquidity meaning

  • Liquidity in the financial markets refers to how rapidly a stock may be sold without lowering its price. An investment can be sold more rapidly (and vice versa) if it is more liquid, and selling it for fair value or current market value is simpler. More liquid assets trade at a premium and less liquid assets trade at a discount, all else being equal.
  • A company’s liquidity is a measure of how quickly it can meet its short-term financial obligations in accounting and financial analysis.

What is liquidity

  • The most liquid assets are often listed first on a company’s balance sheet, followed by the least liquid. As a result, cash is always put first in the asset section, followed by other asset categories including Property, Plant, and Equipment (PP&E), which are listed last.
  • The ability of a corporation to fulfill its financial commitments is referred to as liquidity in the fields of finance and accounting. The liquidity metrics that are most widely used include:
  • Current Assets – Current Liabilities = Current Ratio
  • Quick Ratio: The proportion of current liabilities to only the most liquid assets (cash, accounts receivable, etc.).
  • Cash on hand as a percentage of current obligations

What are the types of liquid assets?

In the Indian stock market, various types of assets exhibit different levels of liquidity. Let’s look at some of these liquid assets:

  • Cash:

    Cash is the most liquid asset, readily used for any transaction. In the stock market, having cash allows investors to seize investment opportunities. Whether buying stocks during market dips or participating in initial public offerings (IPOs), cash provides the flexibility to act quickly.

  • Cash Equivalents:

    Cash equivalents are short-term investments that are particularly liquid and can be easily converted into cash. These include Treasury bills, money market funds, and commercial papers. Cash equivalents offer a balance between liquidity and potential returns, making them attractive to investors seeking low-risk options.

  • Accrued Income:

    Accrued income refers to the earnings that have been earned but have not been received. It includes dividends, interest, and other income generated from investments. Although accrued income is not immediately accessible as cash, it adds to an investor’s overall liquidity and can be realized later.

  • Stocks:

    Stocks, or equities, represent ownership in a company. In the Indian stock market, stocks are highly liquid assets that can be quickly sold or bought. Trading volumes, bid-ask spreads, and the number of market participants are a few variables that affect stock liquidity.

  • Government Bonds:

    Government bonds, also called sovereign bonds, are debt securities issued by the government. These bonds are considered highly liquid, backed by the government’s creditworthiness. Government bonds provide a haven for investors and are actively traded in the market.

  • Promissory Notes:

    Promissory notes, or commercial paper, are short-term debt instruments corporations use to meet their financing needs. These notes are highly liquid and are often traded in the money market. Investors can easily buy or sell promissory notes to manage their liquidity requirements.

  • Accounts Receivable:

    Accounts receivable are sums of money clients owe to a business. While not tradable in the stock market, accounts receivable contributes to a company’s liquidity. Companies can convert these receivables into cash by factoring in or availing of short-term financing options.

  • Certificate of Deposits:

    Banks and other financial institutions offer Certificates of Deposit (CDs), which are time deposits. They have a fixed maturity and offer a higher interest rate than savings accounts. CDs can be traded in the secondary market before maturity, providing investors with liquidity.

Which financial markets are the most liquid?

In the Indian context, several financial markets exhibit high levels of liquidity. These include:

  • Stock Market: The Indian stock market, consisting of exchanges like the BSE and NSE, is highly liquid. It offers a wide range of liquid stocks, making it an attractive platform for investors and traders.
  • Money Market: The money market in India comprises various instruments such as commercial papers, treasury bills, and certificates of deposit. It is highly liquid and facilitates short-term borrowing and lending.
  • Foreign Exchange Market: The forex market is the largest and most liquid globally. In India, the forex market allows trading major currency pairs, making it highly liquid and attractive to participants.

Different Methods for Measuring Liquidity

Various methods are used to assess the liquidity of a stock or market. Let’s explore two common approaches:

  • Market Liquidity

Market liquidity measures the ease of buying or selling an asset without causing significant price movements. Some key indicators of market liquidity include bid-ask spreads, trading volumes, and the presence of market makers. A narrow bid-ask spread, and high trading volumes typically indicate higher market liquidity.

  • Accounting Liquidity

Accounting liquidity focuses on a company’s ability to meet short-term obligations. It is measured using liquidity ratios such as the current and quick ratios. These ratios assess the company’s ability to convert assets into cash and pay off its liabilities. Higher liquidity ratios indicate better accounting liquidity.

What are the most liquid securities or assets?

The most liquid assets or securities in the Indian stock market are:

  • Blue-Chip Stocks: Blue-chip stocks represent shares of well-established companies with a history of stable earnings and a strong market presence. These stocks are highly liquid and are often included in major market indices.
  • Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs): ETFs are investment funds that trade on stock exchanges like individual stocks. They offer diversification and allow investors to gain exposure to various asset classes. ETFs are highly liquid, as their shares can be sold or bought throughout the trading day.
  • Nifty 50 Index: The Nifty 50 index comprises the top 50 companies listed on the National Stock Exchange. It is highly liquid and widely tracked by investors and traders as a benchmark for the Indian stock market.

What are some illiquid assets or securities?

While the Indian stock market offers a range of liquid assets, specific securities exhibit low liquidity. These illiquid assets include:

  • Small-Cap Stocks: Small-cap stocks represent shares of companies with a smaller market capitalization. These stocks may have lower trading volumes and fewer market participants, leading to reduced liquidity compared to large-cap stocks.
  • Penny Stocks: Penny stocks are low-priced stocks that often trade over the counter (OTC) or on smaller exchanges. They are highly speculative and have limited liquidity due to low trading volumes.
  • Unlisted Securities: Unlisted securities refer to stocks or bonds not traded on a recognized stock exchange. These securities need more liquidity from a regulated market, making it difficult for investors to buy or sell them.


  • In the Indian context, understanding liquidity in the stock market is vital for investors and traders. Liquidity ensures efficient trading and allows market participants to buy or sell assets quickly. Cash, cash equivalents, stocks, government bonds, and promissory notes are some of the liquid assets in the Indian stock market.
  • Market liquidity and accounting liquidity are two standard methods used to measure liquidity. While blue-chip stocks, ETFs, and the Nifty 50 index represent highly liquid assets, small-cap stocks, penny stocks, and unlisted securities tend to be less liquid.
  • As an investor or trader, it is essential to consider liquidity when making investment decisions. By understanding the liquidity of different assets and markets, investors can effectively manage their portfolios and capitalize on market opportunities.
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