The allegation of LIBOR manipulation by some banks offers one the opportunity to ponder on the importance of that single number. Donald MacKenzie gave the following figures in 2008:
Judged by the amount of money directly dependent on it, the British Bankers’ Association’s London Interbank Offered Rate matters more than any other set of numbers in the world. LIBOR anchors contracts totalling around $300 trillion, the equivalent of $45,000 for every human being on the planet [...] For instance, the level of LIBOR determines the monthly payments on around half of the adjustable-rate mortgages in the US: rates are set as LIBOR plus a fixed margin and reset periodically at LIBOR changes [...] LIBOR is even more central to the huge market for interest-rate swaps.
And they seem to have just done that.