Britain's financial regulator is investigating claims that the $5 trillion (£3 trillion) foreign exchange market has been rigged.
Traders at some leading banks are reported to have manipulated rates by sharing inside information. The news agency Bloomberg reported claims that some were "front-running" client orders, which means they pushed through trades before and during the 60-second windows when the benchmarks are set. Benchmark rates for the most commonly traded currencies are based on deals that take place during this hourly window. Bloomberg said some traders worked together to boost the chances of moving the rates.
The City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, was " aware of these allegations and has been speaking to the relevant parties," a spokesman said.
Foreign exchange benchmarks are used by companies, funds and others for a wide range of valuations. The system is administered by World Markets, a unit of State Street.
"The process for capturing this information and calculating the spot fixings is automated and anonymous and the rates are monitored for quality and accuracy," a spokeswoman said.
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