Zerohedge: Bank Of England Suffers Stunning Failure On Second Day Of QE: "Goodness Knows What Happens Next Week"
...and this one for a different and simplified perspective:
I have no way of knowing the education of my audience here... Could know about this area but may know absolutely nothing about finance at all!
The Quantitative Easing program has been unable to guy government bonds from institutions it hopes to provide with money in order to 'stimulate' the economy.
Investors in markets such as this look for yield. Yield is the percentage you get back as a small sum of the money or asset you are holding... So when interest rates were 8% the yield on saving was high. Because if you held (£100,000 in a bank account at 8% you would get £8,000 per year).
Now however we are at 0% interest rates so if you hold £100,000 you get £0 a year. This has lead to a search for yield. Yield is typically lower for things that are a solid investment, such as a triple A bond. There is no reason to give yield for this because it is good value anyway and will not fail (supposedly, according to traditional mainstream logic). A bond that is rated at E... I.e. is very likely to fail may have a high yield, in a traditional normal economy that might be very high, such as (I'm only guessing here) but lets say about 10% or more.
A bond though is debt, so if someone is paying back their debt somewhere in the world and you have the bond for that you will get that money.
With the government guaranteeing everything there have been few assets that are risky anymore... So in order to get higher yield investors have gone into riskier assets.
A government bond is like an IOU... You hold onto this security and we will pay you back x amount in y years. The longer the bond the more the uncertainty so the yield on a 15 year bond is higher than a yield on a 5 year bond.
The bank of England is doing Quantitative Easing, printing money and buying certain assets to 'stimulate' the economy. It usually buys government bonds at a high price so that the institutions carrying them get an influx of cash so they can, in theory, give more loans to their customers. This also means government can borrow at low rates. (If the government bond is a stable investment that is being brought often it does not need a high yield, so it will charge a lower interest). This all sounds a bit incestuous!
However, today the bank of England was unable to buy all the 15 year government bonds for the money it had... This is a problem almost unheard of in Western banking. It is partly because investors do not want to let go of a good yield product.
In theory then this means that the 'economy' isn't being stimulated... In confidence terms the market should then crash... However, we know it won't just yet.
So that was the explanation of these events.