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Can the world count on “swaps” between central banks to prevent a coronavirus financial crisis?

Swap lines pulled us back from the brink in 2008. But as this pandemic spreads, a great power rivalry threatens to bring the global financial system tumbling down

By Adam Tooze  

Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/PA Images

As the coronavirus crisis has intensified, the turmoil in financial markets has awakened memories of 2008. At the weekend, along with announcing an interest rate cut and expansion of bond-buying, the US Federal Reserve led a group of major central banks in announcing changes to make it easier to borrow on the so-called liquidity swap lines. These are the hidden bits of wiring in the global financial system which (as I explained in my history…

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