UK stocks pared some of their sharp losses on Wednesday after the Bank of England said it would start a temporary program of bond purchases to stabilize the market and added that it would postpone the planned start of its gilt sale program.
The blue-chip index slipped 0.3% after dropping as much as 2.1% earlier in the session, while the more domestically focused FTSE 250 eased 1.4%.
The Bank of England said it would buy as many long-dated government bonds as needed between now and Oct. 14 to stabilize financial markets.
“It shows that they are responding to the weakness in the pound and they’re hoping to stop the gilt market rout, which is where the weakness in the pound came from originally,” said Giles Coghlan, chief market analyst at HYCM.
The moves come after the International Monetary Fund and Moody’s criticized UK’s new economic strategy, with the ratings agency warning large unfunded tax cuts were “credit negative” for Britain.
The battered pound briefly dropped as much as 1% against the dollar, before paring some losses. It was last down 0.5% at $1.0680.
Meanwhile, gilt yields fell sharply, with the UK’s 10-year bond yield last down 32 basis points.
Weighing on the FTSE 100 index, rate-sensitive banking stocks declined 2.8%.
“It is a measure to try and restore order to the gilt market and in doing so avoid the need for any more drastic action being taken before November’s MPC meeting,” said Stuart Cole, head macro economist at Equiti Capital.
Retailers slipped 0.5%, with online fashion retailer Boohoo Group slumping 6.4% after it cut its full-year outlook.
Burberry Group rose 4.3% after announcing Daniel Lee would be its new chief creative officer, replacing Riccardo Tisci, who is stepping down. (Reporting by Johann M Cherian and Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Uttaresh.V, Savio D’Souza and Shounak Dasgupta)