LIBOR, foreign exchange and the illusion of liquidity

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The LIBOR and FX controversies revealed that prices and benchmarks related to money and currencies were highly susceptible to manipulative and collusive practices. The reform process since has strived to ensure that market participants and end-users can rely on a fair price determination process. Put differently, the emphasis has been on the price-aspects of LIBOR and FX. However, when studying market liquidity, the price always needs to be put into a broader context. This article uses two case studies to illustrate how ignoring other dimensions of market liquidity, such as volume and speed, can result in misleading assessments of the state of the market. At worst, it can lead to, and perhaps even sustain, an illusion of liquidity. This is of particular relevance for OTC markets, which ultimately depend on human relationships and trust.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Securities Operations & Custody
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • foreign exchange
  • high-frequency trading
  • liquidity
  • regulation


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