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Was the Forex Fixing Fixed?

Ito, Takatoshi; Yamada, Masahiro

“Fixing” of the exchange rate (price) is a rule among the Forex market participating institutions to set a reference/settlement price for the day. Major fixings occur at 9:55 am Tokyo time for transactions between Japanese banks and their customers, and at 4:00 pm London time for transactions between European and US banks and their customers. The two fixings have different regulations and institutions. The London fix is calculated as an average price during the one minute window around 4:00 pm. We empirically examine the movement of prices around the time of fixing. Regulators in the UK and the US have accused banks of colluding by manipulating the price around the London fixing time. It has been mentioned in the media that there was evidence of “chats” among traders of different institutions in order to carry out this collusion. But, is there evidence of price manipulation? We found little evidence of volatile movement (or spikes) in prices around the fixing time. In fact, liquidity provision at the fixing time is larger than other times, which makes the price impact of any trade smaller. At the Tokyo fixing, however, financial institutions can fix the price by themselves based on the market price. Although the market provides deep liquidity at the Tokyo fixing as well, such financial institutions had announced prices to be more favorable for banks up until 2008. Such deviation of the fixing price from the market price might be related to the settlement needs of importers, as well as banks wanting to reduce the risk of being caught with a dollar shortage later in the day.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Center on Japanese Economy and Business
Publisher
Center on Japanese Economy and Business, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University
Series
Center on Japanese Economy and Business Working Papers, 344
Published Here
September 21, 2015
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