As central banks break the junk debt barrier, investors will follow

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(Reuters) – Recent central bank bond-buying to calm market turmoil has breached the wall dividing top-grade debt from so-called junk-rated issues, raising the likelihood of the investment industry and even regulators eventually dismantling the barrier.

FILE PHOTO: George Washington is seen with printed medical mask on the one Dollar banknotes in this illustration taken, March 31, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Central banks had until recently baulked at buying sub-investment grade debt — which is rated BB+ or lower — in their emergency programmes or accepting it as collateral, given the higher risk of default.

But with the coronavirus crisis roiling

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