An article published today in the Reserve Bank Bulletin provides an overview of the importance of benchmarks, which are used to price, value and evaluate financial market transactions.
The Bulletin article notes the need for financial market benchmarks to be reliably measured, transparent and supported by strong governance arrangements. The article also explores the way that regulators worldwide are implementing reforms for interest rate benchmarking systems and processes. This follows the erosion in trust in benchmarks that occurred after the LIBOR scandal, where a number of international banks in London were found to have manipulated the LIBOR benchmark interest rates.
Significant work has been undertaken in recent years to improve the reliability, transparency, and governance in New Zealand’s key short-term interest rate benchmark, known as BKBM. The New Zealand Financial Markets Association has carried out this work and has generally brought BKBM in line with guiding principles published by the International Organization of Securities Commissions and Financial Stability Board.
The Bulletin article notes that significant declines in volumes traded during the BKBM rate set in recent years have raised concerns about the reliability of the BKBM as a benchmark rate. The Bulletin article discusses this trend as well as potential solutions for a recovery in the efficiency and liquidity of the New Zealand bank bill market.
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