New report provides guidance and information on LIBOR transition for trade finance industry
WASHINGTON — BAFT, the leading global financial services association for international transaction banking, today announced the publication of the first edition of LIBOR Transition: Impact on Trade Finance – Frequently Asked Questions Guide to inform and respond to frequently asked questions related to LIBOR transition for U.S. Dollar and UK Pound Sterling.
Trade is essential to GDP growth and supports commercial flows and supply chain sustainability globally. In 2019, global trade flows totaled $18.1 trillion, with an estimated $9.77 trillion of that sum comprised of bank intermediated trade. USD LIBOR is the most widely used benchmark across the trade finance industry globally. As the market prepares to transition away from LIBOR to Risk Free Rates (RFRs) by the end of 2021, BAFT member institutions have been working steadily to prepare for the change.
“This frequently asked questions guide provides timely information for trade finance practitioners who are preparing for the transition away from LIBOR,” said Diana Rodriguez, vice president, international policy at BAFT. “The trade finance business has long stressed the imperative for a forward-looking term rate to ensure the uninterrupted provision of financing to support cross border trade. We were pleased to see the development of Term SONIA in the UK which forged a clear path for the industry to transition. In the U.S., we are awaiting and closely tracking the ARRC’s plans to formally endorse a SOFR Term Rate and are evaluating the viability of other term rates solutions for the U.S. Dollar.”
The BAFT guide is the culmination of several months of analysis by the BAFT IBOR Transition Working Group, as well as active engagement with vendors providing term rate solutions for the U.S. Dollar. Trade finance practitioners are encouraged to work internally with LIBOR transition teams to review documentation carefully to determine what elements of the portfolio and services reference LIBOR or other IBORs that will cease and what fallbacks would apply when the rate becomes unavailable. This resource will be updated regularly as new official sector guidance emerges and to reflect emerging BAFT working group best practices. Future iterations of this guide will consider transition priorities for other important currencies for the trade finance business.