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Bank of England committee split over base rate hold decision

06 August 2017

"The market hadn't priced in much possibility of a hike this month but the 6-2 vote was a bit of a dovish surprise for us", said Yujiro Goto, an analyst at Nomura, one of the only banks that had been calling for a rate hike this month.

"The MPC expects inflation to rise further in coming months and to peak around 3% in October, as the past depreciation of sterling continues to pass through to consumer prices".

It also shaved its growth forecast for next year to 1.6pc from 1.7pc, but kept 2019 at 1.8pc. "Consequently the task of determining just what effect Brexit had on the United Kingdom economy will mostly fall on the shoulders of tomorrow's historians, rather than today's economists".

Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said it was no surprise that the BoE chose to hold fire on lifting interest rates given the slowdown in economic growth and consumer spending.

Sterling fell against the United States dollar and the euro following the rates decision and report.

The MPC's forecasts are based on the assumption of a smooth exit from the European Union with Carney arguing it is in both sides' interests to have a clear transition to "whatever the end state is".

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The downgrades, linked to Brexit, were enough for the majority of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to keep their cautious stance, with rates remaining at a record low of 0.25 per cent.

He was also optimistic surrounding the global growth outlook with stronger investment which would tend to raise equilibrium interest rates.

"It is very unlikely this signaling will culminate in formal policy action, particularly in the early stages of the Brexit process".

Some tightening will be needed in the next three years.

"In our view, the Bank of England's forecasts are still slightly optimistic about the near-term outlook for the United Kingdom economy".

He insisted that borrowers would be able to survive a hike in interest rates but warned that rates could rise faster than now expected. That was more clear cut than a close 5-3 vote at the Monetary Policy Committee's meeting in June.

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Cuts growth forecast for 2017 from 1.9% to 1.7%.

At its simplest level, the policy dilemma facing Britain's central bank is that it must balance surging inflation brought on by the weakened pound since the referendum with the slowdown in the economy, dwindling consumer spending, and declining inward investment.

This is the most viable option because the United Kingdom needs to offset the negative implications of Brexit and depreciation in sterling.

Britain avoided a recession after the Brexit vote in June 2016, inflation is running above the BoE's 2 per cent target and unemployment is at a four-decade low.

Ian McCafferty and Michael Saunders were the two MPC members that dissented in favor of a 25 basis points rate hike, expressing concerns over rising inflation.

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Bank of England committee split over base rate hold decision