What is Liquidity?

Liquidity is the ability or ease with that any security could be transformed into cash without impacting its price. Most liquid of all assets could be the cash.

Key Takeaways

  • The term “liquidity” refers to the ease with that an asset or security is converted into cash without affecting its price.
  • It is considered the most liquid asset. However, tangible goods are not as liquid. Two main kinds of liquidity are accounting liquidity and market liquidity.
  • Quick, current, and cash ratios are frequently used to gauge liquidity.

Classification of Liquidity Market (Example)

Here can be a sample of how typical investments are rated according to how quickly and easily they are transformed into funds (course, this process will differ depending on the situation).

Rankings of Liquidity:


Foreign Currency (FX)

Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs)

Government Bonds

Corporate Bonds

The Stock Market (publicly traded)

Commodities (physical)

Real Estate


Private Businesses

As you’ll see from the above list, the cash asset is by default, an asset that is the most liquid because it doesn’t require traded or conversation (it’s in liquid!). Bonds and stocks can usually be converted into cash within a couple of days, based on the value of the investment. Also, investments that are more difficult to sell, like art, real estate, and private enterprises, might take longer to convert into cash (often several months or years).

Financial Liquidity

The items on the balance sheet of a business are generally listed from the highest liquid to the least. So, cash is typically placed as the highest priority in an asset section, and other assets, like Property, Plant & Equipment (PP&E), are listed in the last.

In accounting and finance, the idea of a business’s liquidity is the ability of a company to fulfill its financial obligation. The most commonly used indicators of liquidity are:

  • Current Ratio – Current assets less current liabilities
  • Quick Ratio A ratio that only includes the liquid assets (cash or accounts receivable etc.).) as compared to current liabilities.
  • Cash Ratio – The Ratio of cash on hand concerning current liabilities

Market liquidity is the degree to that markets, like the stock market in a country or the real estate market in a city, allow assets to be purchased and sold at a steady price that is transparent. In the above example, fridges are a popular item as a substitute for rare book is ineffective that in all reasons, it doesn’t exist.

The market for stocks is, however is distinguished by greater market liquidity. If an exchange is characterized by an extensive volume of transactions that are not heavily influenced by selling, then the amount a buyer will offer for each part (the cost of the bid) and the amount a buyer is prepared to pay (the asking price) are likely to be similar.

Investors do not need to forfeit the unrealized gains in exchange to make the sake of a quick sale. If the gap between the price of the bid and the asking, it makes the market more liquid. However, when the spread expands, it becomes less liquid. The markets for real estate tend to be more liquid than stock markets. The liquidity of other assets, like contracts, derivatives, currencies or commodities, typically depends on the asset’s size and the number of exchanges that are in place to trade them on.

Accounting Liquidity

Accounting liquidity is the ease with a company or individual’s ability to meet its financial obligations by using the liquid assets they have available to them. It is the ability to pay debts off as they are due.

In the case above, those rare books collector’s items are largely unliquid and will likely not be worth their entire value of $1,000 in the event of a crisis. In the context of investment, evaluating the accounting liquidity is the comparison of liquid assets with the current liabilities, which are financial commitments that become due in the next year.

There are several ratios to assess accounting liquidity, but they differ in how they determine “liquid assets.” Analysts and investors utilize these ratios to find companies with good liquidity. It’s also seen as an indicator of depth.

Why is The Liquidity Value of a Product?

If markets aren’t liquid, it is difficult to change assets or securities to cash. You could, for example have a rare treasured family heirloom appraised at $150,000. But if there’s no market (i.e., there aren’t any buyers) for your item that means it’s not worth anything because no one will ever pay near its appraised value – it is extremely in liquid. This could even mean hiring an auction house to serve as a broker and hunt those who might be interested, which take some time and cost.

However, liquid assets can be quickly and easily transferred to their true value , and at a minimal cost. Businesses also need to have sufficient liquid assets to pay their short-term obligations , such as payments or bills, or else they could face an liquidity crisis that could cause bankruptcy.

What are the most liquid Assets as well as Securities?

It is by far the most liquid of assets, followed by cash equivalents, items like money markets, CDs and time deposits. Securities that are marketable, such as bonds and stocks traded on exchanges are typically highly liquid and may be traded quickly through an intermediary. Gold coins and other collectibles are also able to be traded for cash.

What are some illiquid Assets as well as Securities?

Security that is traded on the open market (OTC) such as complicated derivatives can be in liquid. For people, a home or timeshare or cars are all liquid in the sense that it can take a few weeks or months for a purchaser to be found and even longer to close the deal and get the payment. Furthermore, the broker’s fees are likely to be substantial (e.g. 5-7 percent on average for an agent).

Why are some stocks more liquid than others?

Most liquid securities are ones that have a lot of attention from a variety of market participants and lots of daily transactions. These stocks also draw more market makers that operate in an even stricter two-sided market. Illiquid stocks tend to have larger spreads of bid-ask and have smaller market depth. These stocks are less popular, have less trading volume and typically have less market value and lower high volatility. Therefore, the stock of banks with large multinationals tends to be liquidmore liquid than the stock of a smaller regional bank.