The key London interbank offered rate (Libor) is climbing upward again, pointing to continued difficulties ahead in the credit markets.
Libor is the rate that banks says they charge each other for three-month dollar loans. The rate stood at 1.33 percent as of March 11, near the highest level since Jan. 8 and up 25 basis points from its 2009 low, set Jan. 14.
At that time, it looked like the credit crisis may be ending. But given Libor’s rise since then, the credit markets could freeze up again.
Libor is rising amid banks’ reluctance to part with their cash and governments’ intense efforts to pump liquidity through their financial systems.
That task is quite difficult given the $1.2 trillion in losses suffered by financial institutions since the crisis broke out in 2007.
“The market is beginning to think that the solution is either not politically possible, or we can’t afford it, or maybe there isn’t a solution,” Bob Baur, chief global economist at Principal Global Investors, tells Bloomberg.
Libor’s rise “is just another indication of that concern,” he says.
The gain shows banks remain skittish 19 months later because they still don’t know if they can trust each other, Soren Elbech, treasurer of the Inter-American Development Bank, tells Bloomberg.
Star bank analyst Meredith Whitney doesn’t think the credit crisis is over either. She wrote in The Wall Street Journal that credit cards will be the next shoe to drop.
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