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Bank issues pay warning and cuts growth forecast as rates held
04 August 2017, 12:37 | Marta Robbins
Sterling skids to 9-month low vs euro as BoE keeps rates unchanged
At the time of the report, the Dollar Spot Index was up 0.11% at 92.942, with the Euro down 0.08% at 1.1846 and the pound flat on the day, the Dollar having found support through Asian session in recent days only to stumble through the U.S Session.
"The case for any near-term interest rate hike has been watered down by inflation dipping in June, while United Kingdom growth remains stuck in a low gear". But some analysts had seen a small chance of a rate rise this week after comments from the Bank's governor, Mark Carney, and other committee members that they were more open to higher rates to keep inflation in check. The Bank's chief economist, Andy Haldane, did not vote for a hike, after previous rhetoric suggesting he might take the plunge.
Also adding to the dovish arguments were the bank's new macroeconomic forecasts.
For 2018 it expects growth of 1.6 per cent, down from 1.7 per cent previously.
While a gradual pick-up in investment will eventually offset that fall, Carney noted it expects the level of investment in 2020 to be 20 per cent lower than the Bank's pre-referendum forecasts.
Given the uncertainties surrounding both the United Kingdom economic outlook - as a result of Brexit - and the BoE's position, markets could become quite volatile, particularly when the voting is released and during the press conference with Governor Mark Carney and some of his colleagues.
The Bank has therefore downgraded its forecast for GDP growth since the May meeting.
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Mark Carney has told a press conference today that Brexit is harming the United Kingdom before it has even happened and that the country needs a transitional arrangement to its future relationship with the EU.
The markets believe that an interest rate hike is very unlikely but to what extent dissent is brewing within the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) over tightening monetary policy will be under the spotlight.
The Bank today attempted to prime markets that monetary policy may need to be tightened by a "somewhat greater extent" than investors are now anticipating.
As expected, the Bank will bring its Term Funding programme to an end when it expires in February next year, but not before raising the ceiling on it to £115bn from £100bn, which it said is due to strong demand from banks.
However, it said it expects inflation to rise further in the coming months, and to peak at around 3% in October, with the past depreciation of sterling continuing to pass through to consumer prices. The Bank still ascribed the overshoot of its two per cent target "entirely" to the effects of the weaker pound.
Speaking to World at One, Longworth said that the Bank didn't have a "good record" when predictions were concerned and that Governor Mark Carney's statement on the current expectations sounded like "project fear all over again".
With low unemployment, wages are expected to rise. Recent figures showed the economy had its slowest growth since 2012 in the first half of this year, while inflation has also dipped and growth in wages remains weak.
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