Sunday, 23 September, 2018

Bank of England Puts Off Interest Rate Rise

Interest rates Interest rates
Leonard Rios | 12 May, 2018, 23:20

This is partly down to the assessment that part of the sluggish growth over the first quarter of this year was partly related to the bad weather when the "Beast from the East" hit slowing down economic activity.

Inflation was seen dropping to 2.1 percent in a year's time, and returning to target a year later, but only if interest rates rose by 25 basis points about three times over three years, as markets expect.

The Inflation Report added inflation had fallen back "more rapidly than expected" at its February meeting, with "pass-through of the past depreciation of sterling to import prices" is "somewhat smaller than previously thought".

The timing may prove significant because the monetary policy committee (MPC) has always seen official growth figures for a full quarter before finalising its forecast and voting on rates in months when the quarterly Inflation Report is published. Their forecasts for the year were reduced principally to take into account the lower than expected performance that has already been and gone - growth predictions for subsequent years remain unchanged.

The rate has now changed just twice since March 2009 when it was lowered to a then record low of 0.5 percent in the wake of the financial crisis.

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Analysts at Deutsche Bank note that the BoE kept rates on hold yesterday as widely expected, but the vote was not unanimous (7-2), with both Saunders and McCafferty dissenting as they did in February. In the weeks leading up to the actual decision, there had been some speculation that the Bank would act to tighten monetary policy on the back of Governor Mark Carney's comments, but it has been odds on for some time that the MPC would delay a rise until (probably) August.

That was in line with forecasts from economists polled by Reuters in the past week. Q1 growth came in at a desultory 0.1%.

Experts believe that further bank rate rises are now delayed for just a while.

Recent data "had been consistent with a temporary soft patch", most of the BoE's rate-setters said.

"Another poor decision. keeping interest rates at 0.5 pct despite nine years of economic recovery, a buoyant global economy, above target inflation and the lowest unemployment rate for 43 years", said Andrew Sentance, a former Bank of England policymaker, on Twitter.

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