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Central bankers advocate replacement of Libor with transaction-based rates

Bank for International Settlements logoA group of central bankers from across the world said on Monday that the Libor interest rate should be replaced with a number of reference rates derived from actual transactions between banks.

The rate, which is used to price trillions of dollars’ worth of derivatives, is set by banks when they submit estimates of the rates at which they think they could borrow from other banks. Barclays, UBS and Royal Bank of Scotland have been fined for their participation in the recent Libor-rigging scandal, Reuters reports.

“It is clear that central banks must play an important role in supporting the development of alternative reference rates,” Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said, according to Reuters.

A committee of central bankers at the Bank for International Settlements published a report on Monday regarding the role that central banks around the world could play in helping to establish a new set of rates. The report said that demand for greater use of transaction data in producing a number of rates has increased.

The report also said that “robust fallback arrangements” should be put in place to cover the possibility of collapse of the market in which the rate is based, adding that central banks can promote alternative rates, Reuters reports.

While some regulators remain wary about a rapid switch to rates involving market-based transactions, some maintain that the shift is long overdue.

“In certain cases, central banks or supervisory authorities could become more actively involved in producing reference rates,” the report said, according to Reuters.

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