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Mark Gilbert

Britannia Waives the Fiscal Rules and Trashes Sterling Assets

It’s been a turbulent time for UK financial markets.

Worth Less.

Worth Less.

Photographer: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

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It’s been a turbulent time for UK financial markets. A week ago, the government revealed a tax-cutting bonanza, delivering a fiscal splurge that’s diametrically opposed to the Bank of England’s efforts to tighten the monetary spigots to curb inflation. Since then, the pound has round-tripped from $1.10 to a record low of $103.5 and back again — leaving it about a fifth weaker against the greenback this year. The yield on the 30-year UK government gilt soared by more than a percentage point, driving it above 5% —  until the central bank announced unlimited intervention “to restore orderly market conditions” as pension funds who’ve been dabbling in derivatives to boost returns faced ruinous margin calls on suddenly underwater positions.