This report contains information on the Bank of England’s Asset Purchase Facility (APF) for 2020 Q4, describing operations from 1 October 2020 to 31 December 2020. More information on what the APF is and what it does is available in our Market Operations Guide. A short timeline describing the history of the APF is provided as background at the end of the report.
APF operations in the past quarter
This section contains details of gilt and corporate bond transactions, and gilts lent to the Debt Management Office (DMO), during the quarter.
On 5 November, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) announced it had voted to increase the Bank of England’s holdings of UK government bonds, financed by the issuance of central bank reserves, by an additional £150 billion, to take the total target stock of UK gilts and sterling non-financial investment-grade corporate bonds to £895 billion.footnote  Further details are contained in Market Notices published on 5 November 2020 and 17 December 2020.
During 2020 Q4 the APF made £48.6 billion of gilt purchases.footnote  Details of the purchase programme for this period can be found in the Market Notice published Market Notice published on 6 August 2020.
The APF also made £0.1 billion of corporate bond purchases in 2020 Q4.
Table A summarises the stock of APF gilt and corporate bond purchases in 2020 Q4.
Table A: Summary of stocks in Asset Purchase Facility Schemes (a) (£ millions)
Corporate bond purchase scheme (c)
2020 Q3 (d)
7 October 2020
14 October 2020
21 October 2020
28 October 2020
4 November 2020
11 November 2020
18 November 2020
25 November 2020
2 December 2020
9 December 2020
16 December 2020
23 December 2020
30 December 2020
- Source: Bank of England.
- (a) The outstanding amount in each facility is reported on a settlement date basis.
- (b) The overall stock of APF gilt purchases, less redemptions, valued at initial purchase price.
- (c) The overall stock of APF Corporate Bond Purchase Scheme purchases, less redemptions, valued at initial purchase price.
- (d) 2020 Q3 measured as the amount outstanding as at 30 September 2020.
Chart 1 shows the cumulative net value of APF transactions between the establishment of the Fund and end-December 2020. As at 31 December 2020, the Bank had reported cumulative assets purchases net of sales, redemptions and repayments totalled £744.9 billion.
Chart 1 is separated into two panels with different scales. Gilt purchases and the Term Funding Scheme (TFS – which from 2016 to 2019 was on the APF balance sheet before its transfer to the Bank’s balance sheet) are on the left panel.footnote  The corporate bond schemes and legacy commercial paper schemes that have been operated via the APF balance sheet are on the right panel. The Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF), which was launched in March 2020, is not part of the APF balance sheet.footnote 
Gilts purchased via the APF continue to be made available for on-lending to the market through the gilt lending arrangement with the DMO. The average daily aggregate value of gilts lent by the APF to the DMO during the three months to 31 December 2020 was £1.8 billion.
APF history and background
Below is a summary of some of the key milestones in the history of the APF since its establishment in 2009.
- 19 January 2009 Chancellor’s Statement announcing the intention to set up an asset purchase programme.
- 29 January 2009 Establishment of the APF Fund (see exchange of letters between the Bank and HM Treasury).
- 9 November 2012 HM Treasury announces the transfer of gilt coupon payments to the Exchequer (see exchange of letters between the Bank and HM Treasury).
- 4 August 2016 MPC agrees to expand the APF by launching a TFS and a Corporate Bond Purchase Scheme (CBPS) (see exchange of letters between the Bank and HM Treasury).
- 21 June 2018 Bank and HM Treasury agree new capital and income framework codified by a new Memorandum of Understanding.
- 21 January 2019 TFS drawings (and collateral) transferred from the APF to the Bank of England’s balance sheet.
- 19 March 2020 MPC agrees to expand the APF with a £200 billion increase to the stock of UK gilts and sterling non-financial investment-grade corporate bonds to reach £645 billion.
- 18 June 2020 MPC agrees to expand the APF with a £100 billion increase to the stock of UK gilts to reach the total stock of asset purchases to £745 billion.
- 5 November 2020 MPC agrees to expand the APF with a £150 billion increase to the stock of UK gilts to reach the total stock of asset purchases to £895 billion.
Links to additional information related to the APF
- Exchange of letters between the Bank and HM Treasury, 17 February and 3 March 2009.
- Asset Purchase Facility Annual Report 2019/20.
Access past minutes and decisions by the MPC on our website.
You can find further details in our results and usage data.
The Bank launched the Term Funding scheme with additional incentives for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (TFSME) during April 2020. The TFSME does not appear in this report because it is operated from the Bank’s balance sheet, rather than the APF.
The CCFF is operated by the Covid Corporate Financing Facility Limited (the Fund). Further details on the operation of the Fund can be found in the consolidated Market Notice. You can find data on the CCFF in our results and usage data.