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Fed Embraces Libor Again and Risks Undermining Push to Kill It

  • U.S., U.K. lean on benchmark amid massive stimulus efforts
  • Policy makers have sought to phase out rate by the end of 2021
Updated on

Regulators on both sides of the Atlantic have spent the better part of three years trying to kill the London interbank offered rate. Now, they’re looking to it once again to underpin hundreds of billions of dollars in loans as they seek to rescue their economies.

U.S. policy makers last week changed tack and turned to Libor as the benchmark for their $600 billion Main Street Lending Program, which will buy debt from potentially hundreds of companies. The move came a day after U.K. officials granted banks a six-month extension to keep issuing loans tied to the beleaguered reference rate, which is supposed to be phased out by the end of 2021.