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Black Wednesday 1992

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Definition of 'Black Wednesday 1992'

In finance, Black Wednesday refers to the events of 16 September 1992 when the British Conservative government was forced to withdraw the pound sterling from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) after they were unable to keep it above its agreed lower limit.

George Soros made over US$1 billion profit by short selling sterling.

In 1997 the UK Treasury estimated the cost of Black Wednesday at £3.4 billion, with the actual cost being £3.3 billion which was revealed in 2005 under the Freedom of Information Act.

The trading losses in August and September were estimated at £800 million, but the main loss to taxpayers arose because the devaluation could have made them a profit. The papers show that if the government had maintained $24 billion foreign currency reserves and the pound had fallen by the same amount, the UK would have made a £2.4 billion profit on sterling's devaluation. Newspapers also revealed that the Treasury spent £27 billion of reserves in propping up the pound.

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