Bank of England to hold rates after data downturn


The dollar held firm on Thursday after the 10-year USA bond yield popped above the psychologically important 3 percent mark and investors looked to US consumer price data later in the day that could show an acceleration in inflation.

"The UK economy seems rather fickle at present (and) even the Bank of England seems to be blowing hot and cold", said Hetal Mehta, an economist at Legal & General Investment Management.

That has led to a dramatic reversal in market expectations. The Bank of England adjusts the base rate in accordance with the general economic climate in order to either encourage saving or spending with the general aim of maintaining a prosperous and stable economy.

Across April it was revealed that United Kingdom wages rose 2.8 percent, unemployment dropped to its lowest for 43 years, manufacturing orders hit their highest since 1988, exports rose a massive 10.4 percent, and Sterling hit a post-Brexit high of $1.4377 - up six percent on the year.

Confirming a glum first quarter for the economy, industrial output barely rose in March, data showed. The pound, which last month hit its highest level since the country voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, at $1.40, is faltering again. The following month, two of the BoE's nine Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members voted for an increase to 0.75 percent.

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Overall, he said, the BoE was sticking to its message that rates would probably need to rise - for only the second time in over a decade - once that recovery was clear.

The BoE said the economy would grow by 1.4 percent this year, down from the 1.8 percent it predicted in February, with slowing consumer lending and a sluggish housing market creating greater-than-usual uncertainty about consumer demand. Higher interest rates exert downward pressure on inflation, and lower interest rates push it up.

Archer noted that the MPC had indicated in its minutes that it believed growth in the first quarter was greater than the initial estimates, pointing towards an upward revision when more data becomes available to about 0.3 percent, which is in line with recent rates of growth. Financial markets price in a roughly 65 percent chance of a rate rise by then, according to interest rate futures.

The Bank cut its growth forecast for the year to 1.4%, down from the forecast of 1.8% made in February. In the Inflation Report, the BoE now sees inflation lower in the near to medium-term.