How easily an ASSET can be spent, if so desired. Cash is wholly liquid. The liquidity of other assets is usually less; how much less may be measured by the ease with which they can be exchanged for cash (that is, liquidated). Public FINANCIAL MARKETS try to maximise the liquidity of assets such as BONDS and EQUITIES by providing a central meeting place (the exchange) in which would-be buyers and sellers can easily find each other. Financial market makers (middlemen such as investment BANKS) can also increase liquidity by using some of their CAPITAL to buy SECURITIES from those who want to sell, when there is no other buyer offering a decent PRICE. They do this in the expectation that if they hold the asset for a while they will be able to find somebody to buy it. Typically, the higher the volume of trades happening in a marketplace, the greater is its liquidity. Moreover, highly liquid markets attract more liquidity-seeking traders, further increasing liquidity. In a similar way, there can be vicious cycles in which liquidity dries up. The amount of liquidity in financial markets can vary enormously from one moment to the next, and can sometimes evaporate entirely, especially if market makers become too RISK AVERSE to put their capital at risk in this way.
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