March 12 The Federal Reserve Bank of New York
looked at whether a key foreign-exchange benchmark was subject
to manipulation in 2012 but did not pursue any public action,
the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with
The benchmark - the WM/Reuters fix - relates to several
exchange rates, including the euro, sterling, Swiss franc and
yen. They are compiled using data from Thomson Reuters
and other providers, and are calculated by WM, a unit of State
The largely unregulated $5.3 trillion-a-day currency market
has become a focus of a probe into alleged collusion between
dealers at some of the world's biggest banks.
The so-called fixings, which are used to price trillions of
dollars worth of investments and deals and are relied upon by
companies, investors and central banks, are at the centre of a
global investigation into allegations of manipulation by
Last week, the Bank of England revealed that allegations of
rigging of world currency markets had been flagged as far back
as mid-2006 as it suspended a staff member as part of a probe
into what it knew about the alleged manipulation.
The New York Fed's queries started around September 2012 at
a time when the scandal over banks' attempted manipulation of
the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, was in full swing,
the paper reported.
The WM/Reuters fix was one place they looked, when they set
out to see whether other benchmarks might be susceptible to
similar efforts, a person familiar with the central bank's
thinking told the Journal.
The New York Fed carries out the U.S. central bank's market
"In light of the focus on reference rates in other markets,
we sought to better understand the various reference rates
commonly used in the FX market," spokeswoman Andrea Priest said.
"Accordingly the FXC undertook an effort to catalogue
existing rates. This effort did not reflect concerns specific to
the FX rate."