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Bank of England deputy suggests Brexit deal could see rates rise

Deputy Bank of England governor Dave Ramsden has said he thinks gradually increasing interest rates could still be the right path if Britain achieves a smooth exit from the European Union.

Threadneedle Street has repeatedly struck a more hawkish tone than its American and European counterparts, saying it foresees “limited and gradual” rate rises unless Britain’s economy takes a downturn.

Ramsden spoke to Bloomberg yesterday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a “great new” deal with the EU that would see existing trading arrangements stay as they are for at least a year while a new trade deal was reached.

“The kind of guidance we’ve been giving – in the world of a deal it still applies,” Ramsden said in the interview, published today. “We’re not saying over what timeframe, but limited and gradual is a reasonable qualitative framing.”

Ramsden’s view diverges from some of his Bank of England policymaker colleagues. Extern monetary policy committee (MPC) members Gertjan Vlieghe and Michael Saunders have suggested rates should be lower even in the event of a deal.

The BoE deputy said a Brexit deal and some certainty for UK businesses will lead to “some pickup in investment” and will bolster demand and “hopefully” productivity.

Business investment has slumped in 2019, with firms reticent to spend until there is greater certainty over Brexit.

Johnson’s new Brexit deal goes before MPs tomorrow in what looks set to be an incredibly tight vote. Ramsden said the BoE will keep an eye on currency movements after the vote.

By Harry Robertson

Source: City AM

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Interest rates could rise in May 2019

Brexit and slowing economy growth have quashed the likelihood of an interest rate rise from the Bank of England in early 2019 but expect a move in May, a leading economist group has said.

The UK economy grew by 0.4% in the three months to October, down from 0.6% in the previous three months, data showed this week.

At the same time, the prime minister Theresa May has delayed a crucial parliament vote on her Brexit deal.

It means the uncertainty over how the UK will leave the European Union (EU) is set to continue for longer.

Markets now only give a 5% chance to the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) raising the base rate in February, and 30% in May.

However, the chances applied to a May hike “looks like an overreaction”, according to Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

He said: “Even if, as we still expect, the prime minister eventually forces a modified Brexit deal through parliament, the economic data likely won’t have perked up before the MPC’s meeting on May 2.

“Nonetheless, the committee regularly hikes due to its expectations for growth and underlying inflation, and it likely will expect both to strengthen, as investment recovers and the chancellor’s fiscal stimulus kicks in.

“As such, we still think the odds of a May rate hike exceed 50%.”

Strong wage and employment data released today could also strengthen the case for rates rising sooner rather than later.

Wage growth has increased to 3.3% both including and excluding bonuses, while employment is at a record high.

Tom Stevenson, investment director for personal investing at Fidelity International, said: “After yesterday’s weaker than expected GDP figures and more Brexit uncertainty after Theresa May’s last-minute decision to abort today’s Brexit vote, today’s wage growth figures provide UK workers with a little bit of pre-Christmas cheer.

“However, while we have now seen wage growth rise for four consecutive months, we are still not out of the woods.

“With the ongoing political and economic uncertainty, the recent steps forward could be reversed. Britain’s pay growth continues to lag our main competitors since the financial crisis.

“The current cocktail of concerns offers the Bank of England little incentive to hike interest rates any time soon.

“And even if the central bank does plan to increase rates over time, it expects to do so at a ‘gradual pace and to a limited extent’.”

Source: Your Money

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Expect two more rate hikes as economy hits ‘full employment’

Britain is “now at full employment” and so can expect “a couple more small interest rate rises” in the next two to three years to stop the economy from overheating, according to Bank of England policymaker Ian McCafferty.

Higher interest rates will also give the Bank room to cut them once more if the economy hits a troubled spell in the years ahead.

“We would like to get to a point where interest rates could be materially cut if the economy weakens, as well as pushing them up as the economy has hit full employment,” Mr McCafferty told LBC, five days after he and the rest of the nine-strong Monetary Policy Committee voted to raise interest rates from 0.5pc to 0.75pc.

“What we are trying to do is to make sure the economy is stable, keep the economy growing at a pace which delivers a good employment and unemployment outlook without allowing inflation to rise.”

Unemployment is now down to 4.2pc, which is below the level at which the Bank believes wage pressures and inflation will start to rise.

As a result officials want higher interest rates which should rein in inflation.

The policymaker, who steps down from his role at the Bank at the end of this month after six years on the MPC, is considered to be among the most ‘hawkish’ officials as he regularly voted for rate rises even when most of the committee wanted to hold rates.

But even he expects rates to go up only very slowly.

“We’re only talking over the next couple of years of possibly a couple more small interest rate rises over that period,” he said.

“That’s what the markets are expecting and I think that’s a reasonable rule of thumb if the economy performs as we expect.”

Although the economy is now strong enough to cope with higher interest rates, he cautioned that the news is not all positive.

Mr McCafferty said uncertainty around the Brexit negotiations has caused an “exodus” of European bankers leaving London, with an effect on house prices in the areas favoured by expats in the capital.

“In London we have seen a significant change as result of uncertainty on Brexit,” he said.

“Among the number of those renting, who work in the City, usually from elsewhere in Europe, we have seen an exodus.”

 Source: Yahoo Finance UK
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Sterling rallies as UK services growth builds case for rate rise

The pound rose on Wednesday after a survey showing Britain’s dominant services industry gained momentum last month fuelled expectations of a Bank of England interest rate rise this summer.

After a sluggish start to 2018, the British economy is showing tentative signs of a recovery with surveys this week for the manufacturing, construction and services sectors beating expectations.

That has brought some respite for sterling after weeks of losses caused by worries about whether Britain can secure a deal with the European Union before it leaves the bloc next March.

The IHS Markit/CIPS services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) unexpectedly rose to an eight-month high of 55.1 in June, beating economists’ average forecast in a Reuters poll for it to remain unchanged at 54.0.

The pound rose to $1.3201, a five-day high, from $1.3176 before the data GBP=D3 and away from 2018 lows hit last week of $1.3050.

At 1510 GMT the pound was up 0.3 percent versus the euro at 88.18 pence and heading for its biggest daily gain against the common currency since the European Central Bank signalled on June 14 that any interest rate rise was still distant. EURGBP=D3

“The momentum continues for the British economy, the services PMI data has lifted hopes that the Bank of England will raise rates sooner rather than later,” said Naeem Aslam, chief markets strategist at Think Markets UK.

Markets are pricing in an 88 percent chance of a single 25-basis-point increase by the end of 2018 and a 53-percent chance of an August rate rise.

Last month BoE chief economist Andy Haldane joined two other members of the nine-strong Monetary Policy Committee in calling for a rate rise, and official data was revised to show the first quarter slowdown was less severe than first thought.

The pound has slumped recently because of weakness in the economy, a resurgent dollar and fears that Prime Minister Theresa May will run out of time to agree a deal with the EU on the post-Brexit relationship.

The currency weakened more than 6 percent between April and June, its worst quarter since the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU.

On Monday it fell despite relatively robust manufacturing survey data as investors worried about a looming a Brexit cabinet meeting later this week.

“Although there is good reason for the BoE to want to further normalise interest rate policy, the chances that a Brexit deal will not be struck in the coming months leans against the risk of a policy tightening,” said analysts at Rabobank in a note to clients.

The note said the pound would drop to $1.28 by the end of the year.

Source: UK Reuters

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Interest rates will rise in ‘gradual and limited way’, according to Bank of England deputy governor Jon Cunliffe

A Bank of England boss this morning played down the chance of there being a rise in interest rates anytime soon.

When asked about the prospect of rates rising from 0.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent in a few years, deputy Bank of England governor Jon Cunliffe told BBC’s Wake Up to Money that rises would be delivered in a “gradual and limited way”.

It follows Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane calling for an immediate rise earlier this month, igniting speculation that there could be a rise in August.

The Monetary Policy Committee voted by 6-3 in favour of holding interest rates at 0.5 per cent in May.

“Financial markets are assuming that interest rates go up by another three-quarters of a percentage point over the next couple of years,” Cunliffe said.

“We do our forecasting on the basis of where the financial markets have those interest rates and we think we have inflation at target at those sorts of levels.”

But he added British households with high debt could get into trouble if another recession hit the UK.

“Household debt is quite high by historical standards but households have worked hard to put those debt levels down. But within that there are areas that you do worry about,” he added.

“You worry about households that have high debt could be badly affected in a recession.”

Source: City A.M.

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Bank of England to raise interest rates this year

The Bank of England is poised to increase interest rates this year, despite weak economic growth from the UK. According to a Bloomberg survey, Mark Carney, head of the BoE has urged that an increase will happen regardless. Currently, economic growth has suffered setbacks from earlier forecasts in 2016/17. Falling from 1.5% in January and February to 1.4% currently, declining by 0.3% so far compared to 2017.

This slump is due to a significant level of interruptions the economy faced due to weather conditions. According to The Independent, the disruptions to transport, and a large number of lost workdays contributed to the growth slump. Carney has previously stated that, even with the slow motion speed of the British economy. Steady increases to the underlying interest rate are necessary for longer-term economic recovery.

“We think the momentum in the economy is going to reassert. The Monetary Policy Committee judges that an ongoing, modest tightening of monetary policy over the forecast period will be appropriate to return inflation sustainably to its target.”

Bank of England to raise interest

Carney is outspoken in his call for interest rates to increase, even at this period of fragility. This increase is required as a counterbalance to the ongoing issues with inflation. Inflation has been causing problems for average households due to its ongoing parity with wages this year.

This issue is reflected in a 2.5% slowdown in consumer spending over this first quarter, despite holiday sales. The decrease represents the lowest recorded level since records began on spending, with investment intentions remaining stable.

Source: Gooruf

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Bank unlikely to raise interest rates in May after latest economic data

The Bank of England is unlikely to raise interest rates when the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meets next week, after the latest data further pointed to a lacklustre economy, experts said.

Output in Britain’s crucial services sector lifted only slightly in April, following a plunge in March, PMI data from Markit/CIPS Service showed today.

It is the latest in a string of disappointing data on the UK economy, which has prompted market expectations of a May interest rate rise to fall from 90% to around 10% in a matter of weeks.

Earlier this week, data from the same provider showed manufacturing output in April fell further than expected.

It comes after UK economic growth for the first quarter came in below expectations at just 0.1%.

At the start of the year, Bank of England monetary policymakers had warned interest rates were likely to rise sooner and faster than had been expected.

But last month governor Mark Carney acknowledged that economic performance data had become “softer”.

Interest rate rise not likely before August

Most economists now believe a rate hike is unlikely in May but predict a rise could still be on the cards in 2018.

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is considered most likely to increase interest rates to coincide with the release of its quarterly inflation report, making August the next opportunity after May.

Paul Hollingsworth, senior UK economist at Capital Economics, said: “The slight pick-up in the services PMI in April will do little to assuage fears that the economy has suffered a loss of underlying momentum and makes the chance of a rate hike next week extremely slim.

“Taken together with the construction and manufacturing surveys released earlier this week, the all-sector PMI points to GDP growth of about 0.3%, suggesting that the economy is struggling to re-gain momentum.”

However, he added: “With the survey noting that wage cost pressures in the services sector are building, the committee is unlikely to want to wait too long before raising interest rates again.”

Source: Your Money

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UK households report fastest income growth since 2016

Britons’ incomes are rising at near their fastest rate since the depths of the financial crisis in 2009, increasing the chance the Bank of England will soon raise interest rates again, a survey of households showed on Monday.

IHS Markit said an upcoming increase in the minimum wage was the most likely reason why households reported that their income from work grew at the fastest rate since July 2016, when income growth hit its highest since the survey began in January 2009.

“While higher salary payments will help offset sharply rising living costs faced by consumers, it also adds to the likelihood of additional interest rate rises in 2018,” IHS Markit economist Tim Moore said.

The BoE is unlikely to raise interest rates on Thursday following this week’s meeting, but will probably do so after it next meets in May, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

Some 57 percent of households expect the BoE to raise rates in the next six months, little changed from February, IHS Markit said.

However, much depends on whether Prime Minister Theresa May can agree a Brexit transition deal when she meets European Union leaders in Brussels next week, just over a year before Britain is due to leave the EU.

Last month the BoE said rates would probably need to rise sooner and by somewhat more than it had previously thought, after increasing them for the first time in more than a decade in November.

Britain’s economy slowed last year from being the best performer in the G7 group of rich nations to the worst, as higher inflation since June 2016’s Brexit vote has reduced households’ disposable income.

But a boost to exporters from strong global growth means the economy is still expanding fast enough for the BoE to fear that inflation will not fall very quickly from November’s five-year high of 3.1 percent.

Last week government forecasters edged up their growth forecast for 2018, and on Monday the British Chambers of Commerce revised up its forecast to 1.4 percent from 1.1 percent – bringing it roughly in line with the average among economists.

“A moderate pick-up in pay growth (is) expected to support a modest improvement in consumer spending, a key driver for the UK economy,” BCC economist Suren Thiru said.

Unemployment close to a 42-year low should cause annual wage growth to pick up to 3 percent early this year, a rate it has not regularly sustained since the crisis, BoE chief economist Andy Haldane said last month.

The BCC said Brexit was distracting the government from improving training, infrastructure and immigration processes.

“The UK economy as a whole should be performing better than it is, given robust and sustained global growth,” BCC director-general Adam Marshall said.

Source: Yahoo Finance UK

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Why we don’t expect a UK interest rate rise until November

Forecasts for UK interest rates have moved significantly.

The Bank of England, which ordered an increase from 0.25 per cent to 0.50 per cent in November, has signalled that it is ready to raise rates faster than previously thought.

The Bank’s closely watched quarterly Inflation Report, published last month, pointed to the prospect of excessive economic demand emerging by 2020, raising concerns about inflation.

But rather than the detail of what was said, it was perhaps the choice of words that were more significant.

Monetary policy, the report said, would need to be tightened “somewhat earlier and by a somewhat greater extent over the forecast period”.

The Bank’s hawkish communication spurred money markets to quickly bring forward expectations of the next rate rise to May.

We take a different view.

A November rate rise?

We don’t expect the first increase to happen until November, as this is consistent with previous market expectations, upon which the Bank had based its comments. Beyond that, we expect another two rises next year, taking the bank rate to 1.25 per cent by the end of 2019.

Why is our forecast for the first rise later than that of the market?

Firstly, we don’t believe the Bank expected its comments to shift expectations so far. If it does hike as early as May, then markets will quickly price in a rate rise every six months. That would mark a huge increase from the previous guidance that rate rises would be “gradual and limited”.

Secondly, many investors appear to have ignored the ending of the Term Funding Scheme in February.

The scheme, which provided below market cost liquidity to banks in order to encourage additional lending to the public, is estimated by the Bank to have been worth about a 0.25 per cent rate cut. It may already be having an impact on saving and lending rates.

Finally, it is worth remembering that the Bank assumes a smooth path to Brexit with regards to the impact on firms and households.

Given the small working majority the government has in the House of Commons, and the obvious divergence of views with regards to whether the UK should remain in the single market and/or customs union, a smooth path to Brexit seems like the least likely outcome.

For more on the outlook for world economies and interest rates:

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Source: City A.M.

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Bank of England’s Ramsden sees case to raise rates sooner than he thought

The Bank of England might need to raise British interest rates somewhat sooner than Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden had expected if wage growth picks up early this year, according to a newspaper interview released on Saturday.

Ramsden was one of two policymakers who opposed the BoE’s decision in November to raise interest rates for the first time in a decade, but appears to have shifted his stance somewhat in comments published by the Sunday Times newspaper.

Earlier this month the central bank said interest rates might need to rise somewhat sooner and by somewhat more over the next three years than policymakers had expected in November, due to a strong global economy and signs wages are rising faster.

“We all will keep a close eye on what happens through the early part of this year to see if that (BoE) forecast of wage growth picking up to 3 percent is realised,” Ramsden was quoted as saying by the Sunday Times.

“But certainly relative to where I was, I see the case for rates rising somewhat sooner rather than somewhat later.”


Economists polled by Reuters expect the BoE to raise interest rates to 0.75 percent from 0.5 percent by May, and financial markets price in a high chance of a further rate rise to 1 percent before the end of 2018.

The BoE’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, told lawmakers on Wednesday that he thought interest rates might need to rise slightly faster even than the central bank had expected when it set out fresh economic forecasts early in the month.

However, Governor Mark Carney said at the same event that future monetary policy decisions would depend heavily on how businesses and consumers react to ongoing talks on the terms of Britain’s departure from the European Union in March 2019.

Britain’s economy underperformed other major advanced economies last year, due to a hit to consumer demand from higher inflation triggered by the pound’s fall after the Brexit vote, as well as comparatively weak business investment.

The unemployment rate also rose slightly in the final quarter of 2017, though at 4.4 percent it remains near a 42-year low.

Ramsden told the Confederation of British Industry on Friday that the economy could not grow faster than 1.5 percent a year without starting to add to inflation pressures.

Source: UK Reuters