On 19 August 2021, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (“HKMA”) issued Circular B1/15C to all authorised institutions (“AIs”) with the following updates on recent developments on the reform of interest rate benchmarks.

Continue Reading HKMA Circular on Term SOFR, new USD LIBOR-linked contracts after 2021, and stepping up surveillance of AI readiness

On 8 July 2021, Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) issued a circular to all authorised institutions (AIs) requesting them to give a further push to promote the corporate sector’s awareness of LIBOR transition.

HKMA requested each AI to (i) distribute a leaflet (enclosed with the circular) by 31 July 2021 to all of its corporate customers that have outstanding LIBOR-linked contracts with the AI; and (ii) send an email confirmation to HKMA after completing that exercise.


Continue Reading HKMA directs all AIs to distribute LIBOR leaflet to corporate customers by 31 July 2021

On 31 March 2021 the Singapore Steering Committee for SOR and SIBOR Transition to SORA (“SC-STS”) published a report providing guidance on new industry timelines to cease issuance of SOR derivatives and SIBOR-linked financial products.  On the same day SC-STS and the Association of Banks in Singapore issued a joint press release (the “Press Release”) relating to the publication of the SC-STS report.

Continue Reading Singapore Reiterates the Need for Active Transition to SORA

In response to the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s proposed discontinuation of LIBOR, Japan, like other countries that rely on LIBOR as the preferred reference rate, has had to consider alternatives for its reference rate that uses USD LIBOR as a component.

In 2019, the Cross Industry Committee on Japanese Yen Interest Rate Benchmarks, together with

Hong Kong Monetary Authority (“HKMA”) is the front-line regulator for licensed banks and deposit-taking companies (“AIs” or “authorised institutions”) in Hong Kong. LIBOR is used extensively in the Hong Kong banking sector. According to survey results released by HKMA in July 2020, LIBOR-linked products represented 30% and 11% respectively of the banking system’s total assets and total liabilities denominated in foreign currencies as of March 2020. In addition, there were about HK$35 trillion worth of derivative contracts referencing LIBOR.

The reform of the benchmark interest rate has significant implications for AIs in Hong Kong. HKMA has issued a number of Circulars to AIs regarding benchmark rate reforms since March 2019, requiring AIs to get ready for the transition. Similar to the regulators in other jurisdictions, HKMA mainly focuses on bank conduct and treat-customer-fairly principles, and readiness of systems and operations ahead of the transition.


Continue Reading IBOR Transition – Hong Kong Regulatory Guidance

The Bank of Thailand currently administers and publishes two reference rates:

  1. the Thai Baht Interest Rate Fixing (“THBFIX”), which uses USD LIBOR as a component, and is more widely used as a reference rate for (a) derivatives, notes and loans, and (b) market-to-market valuations; and
  2. the Bangkok Interbank Offered Rate (“BIBOR”), which is a forward

The Steering Committee for the Singapore Dollar Swap Offer Rate (“SOR”) transition to the Singapore Overnight Rate Average (“SORA”) has actively facilitated the transition from SOR to SORA. Singapore has been leading the charge in Asia on LIBOR transition matters, with many industry leaders making early shifts towards SORA as the new interest rate benchmark to replace US Dollar LIBOR-linked SOR, which traditionally has been used to price bonds and loans to large institutions.

Continue Reading Transition from Singapore Dollar Swap Offer Rate to Singapore Overnight Rate Average – An Update

On 12 November 2020, the Asia Pacific Loan Market Association (“APLMA”) published two discussion draft facility agreements (the “Facility Agreements”) referencing risk-free reference rates (“RFRs”) for US dollar syndicated loan transactions in the Asia Pacific region. Until recently, there has been a lack of market standard for RFR calculation formulae, pricing methodology, and institution operational practice in the Asia loan market.

Continue Reading APLMA launches the first SOFR-based facility agreements for syndicated loans in Asia Pacific

The first government to issue risk-free rate (“RFR”) referenced notes in Asia is Singapore.

In August 2020, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) auctioned off S$500 million of six-month floating rate notes (“FRN”) with a spread over compounded Singapore Overnight Rate Average (“SORA”) in arrears.

SORA is the recommended alternative to the Singapore Interbank Offered

The People’s Bank of China (“PBOC”) released a white paper on August 31, expressing its intention to adopt the Depository-Institutions Repo Rate (“DR”) as the alternative substitute rate in the Chinese banking market. Several pricing indicators were used in Chinese banking market, including Repo Rate (“R”), DR, Fixing Repo Rate (“FR”), General Collateral Repo Rate (“GC”), Loan Prime Rate (“LPR”), China Interbank Offered Rate (“CHIBOR”) and Shanghai Interbank Offered Rate (“SHIBOR”). The white paper discusses the possibility of these indicators as alternative substitute rate and concludes that amongst these, DR has become the most important indicator amongst such rates in the PRC lending market. According to the white paper, DR is the indicator which best reflects the liquidity condition and financing interest rates in the banking system, and is already widely accepted by the market.

Continue Reading Depository-Institutions Repo Rate – China’s Response to LIBOR Transition