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Margin calls the shots

Investment funds made over €10 billion ($11 billion) in variation margin (VM) payments to derivatives counterparties in the week beginning March 16, up from an average of €2 billion a week throughout the first half of February, partial data from the European Central Bank shows. The absolute value of VM payments that week was likely far higher, and could have peaked at €40 billion on March 16. The ECB estimates rely on data gathered under the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation, which is spotty.

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