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Central banks flinch as UK bond market faces collapse

G7 financial markets avoided a threatened crisis September 28 when the Bank of England announced £45 billion of emergency government bond purchases. That amounts to an emergency easing of monetary policy after months of coordinated rate hikes by most of the world’s central banks.

The British central bank, the world’s second oldest, had no choice: Plummeting bond prices threatened the forced liquidation of British government bonds bought with borrowed money by financial institutions.

A margin call in the market for UK government bonds, or gilts, would have disrupted the orderly financing of supposedly safe assets and triggered a forced liquidation of positions across markets, similar to – if not on the scale of – the 2008 world financial crisis.