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Libor Creeping Higher

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 11th, 2009 5:45 AM |

For those involved in the markets, very often the first rate one checks in the morning is Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate). For those not directly involved in the markets, perhaps tomorrow morning or Thursday you may start your day by asking your partner, “where’s Libor?”  In all seriousness, the 1 month and 3 month Libor rates may very well be the most closely watched indicators of market health in the world.

As Libor is the rate at which banks can borrow from each other in the London market, the rate is an indication as to the availability of dollars and the confidence banks have in each other’s credit. Traditionally, Libor tracked the Federal Funds rate (the rate at which banks borrow from the Federal Reserve) very closely.  However, on the heels of the failure of Lehman Bros. last September, the confidence banks and investors had in each other plummeted. The relationship between the Fed Funds rate and 3 month Libor blew out.  The 3 month Libor rate went as high as 4.7% from just outside 1%. Recall that at that period there was concern about money market funds “breaking the buck” amongst a whole set of other issues. (more…)






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