The Benchmark Set to Replace Libor Suffers Volatility Spike

By Daniel Kruger and Telis Demos

Recent volatility in the market for overnight cash loans is raising concerns about a new benchmark that could set interest rates for trillions of dollars in mortgages and corporate debt.

The cost to borrow cash overnight spiked late last year in part of the market for repurchase agreements, where lenders such as money-market funds make short-term loans to bond brokers, often using government debt as collateral. The “repo” rate topped out above 6% in intraday trading on Dec. 31 before settling at an all-time high of 5.149%, according to JPMorgan.

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