BOE downs the pound, weak US CPI hardly helps

Property Owners Braced For Interest Rate Hike

The Bank of England had upgraded its growth forecasts and in March two members of the MPC broke ranks and voted for an immediate rate rise.

The committee also voted unanimously to maintain the stock of corporate bond purchases and United Kingdom government bond purchases.

"The Bank of England May Inflation Report says". The outlook and the main factors shaping it are broadly similar to those set out in the previous Report.

But the Bank said it expected Q1 growth figures to be revised higher, estimating underlying growth at around 0.3%, while it added activity would bounce back in the second quarter. That was in line with forecasts from economists polled by Reuters in the past week. Money markets shifted to no longer fully price in an interest-rate increase this year. Brexit is weighing on investments as well, they said, duh.

Inflation is also expected to be lower in 2018 than expected three months ago, at 2.4% rather than 2.7%. The MPC continues to judge that the United Kingdom economy has a very limited degree of slack.

"It looks like the 2018 rate hike has been delayed not cancelled", Fitch Ratings chief economist Brian Coulton said. 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. It still sees a small amount of excess demand in the economy by early 2020.

Financial markets had seen a rate hike this month as a near certainty until the recent first quarter data shock and subsequent gloomy reports from different sectors of the economy. Taking external and domestic influences together, CPI inflation is projected to fall back slightly more quickly than in February, reaching the target in two years. It is, effectively, the fundamental interest rate on which most commercial interest rates on standard bank accounts and loans are ultimately based (though of course other things like risk will play a part when calculating interest on loans).

"An ongoing tightening of monetary policy over the forecast period would be appropriate to return inflation sustainably to its target at a conventional horizon", the BOE said.

Further reducing the prospect of a rise were inflation and wage data. If this rebounds as they expect then it is likely we could see a rate rise at any one of the upcoming meetings including June.

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