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Post-script: Washington DC, Friday, October 10 to Monday, 13

It felt like the moment of truth.

The week Wall Street capitulated

"Either we get a coordinated response from the world’s leaders by the end of the weekend, or we might as well give up and go home"

The US president’s address fails to reassure the markets

The US president’s address fails to reassure the markets

Despite his previous assurances falling flat, President George W Bush decides once again to speak to the US nation to comfort them that his administration is doing everything to stabilize the financial system. That Friday, stocks ended lower, following the second-worst ever week for US stocks. Over the previous weeks, those working in financial markets had become used to a usual Sunday routine: log on, tune in, brace yourself and wait for the next cataclysmic announcement.

As the world’s banking community descended on Washington – although rumours abounded that fewer than half of the expected number of delegates had shown up – the mood was intensely grim. The Brown government had announced its bail-out plan for the UK banking system, but the fevered speculation in the lobbies of the main Washington hotels surrounded just how much each UK bank would have to take from the state – and what stake the state would ask for in return.

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