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European Commission adds Wibor to critical benchmark list

The European Commission added Warsaw Interbank Offered Rate to the list of critical benchmarks, giving Poland more time to adjust the reference rate to the European Benchmark Regulation, news agency PAP reported.

In the decision, published March 25 in the Official Journal of the European Union, the EC cited an October 2018 assessment made by the Polish regulator FSA for the European Securities and Markets Authority, which indicated that Wibor is of "vital importance for financial stability and market integrity in Poland."

The FSA said in its assessment that Wibor is used as a reference rate for 60% of all loans granted to households, nearly 26% of the total nominal value of Polish bonds, and for various financial instruments and contracts the total value of which exceeds Poland's gross national product.

The recognition of Wibor as a critical benchmark means that the WSE Benchmark, which is the reference rate's administrator, have two additional years, until Dec. 31, 2021, to adjust the rate to the EU requirements, PAP said in its March 26 report.

The European Commission's decision will become effective once relevant regulations are adopted by the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the Council of the EU and the European Parliament, PAP said.

The list of critical benchmarks also includes the Euro Interbank Offered Rate, the Euro Overnight Index Average, the London Interbank Offered Rate and the Stockholm Interbank Offered Rate.