BoE Keeps Rates Steady Amid Inflation Concerns

James Hyerczyk
Updated: Jun 20, 2024, 15:59 GMT+00:00

Key Points:

  • BoE holds its interest rate at 5.25%, with a 7-2 vote, before the July election.
  • Governor Bailey emphasizes need to ensure low inflation before considering rate cuts.
  • BoE's cautious stance and inflation pressures suggest rate cut likely by September or November.
Bank of England

BOE Interest Rate Decision

The Bank of England (BoE) has kept its main interest rate unchanged at a 16-year high of 5.25%. This decision, ahead of the July 4 election, saw a 7-2 vote within the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden and Swati Dhingra were the only members advocating for a cut to 5%.

Inflation and Economic Outlook

Governor Andrew Bailey cited recent positive inflation data, which showed inflation returning to the 2% target, as a reason for maintaining the current rate. He emphasized the need to ensure inflation remains low before considering a rate cut. This contrasts with his previous month’s optimistic statement about data trends.

Comparison with Other Central Banks

The BoE’s stance follows the European Central Bank’s recent rate cut, while the U.S. Federal Reserve is not expected to reduce rates until later this year. Market expectations for a BoE rate cut are now set for September or November, despite a Reuters poll indicating a potential cut on August 1.

Political Implications

The timing of any rate cut is critical for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, whose Conservative Party trails the opposition Labour Party by 20 points in pre-election polls. Sunak has highlighted the decline in inflation since taking office, whereas Labour attributes high mortgage rates to economic mismanagement by former Prime Minister Liz Truss.

Inflation and Wage Growth

The BoE forecasts inflation to exceed its target as the impact of previous energy price drops wanes, with a projected inflation rate of around 2.5% in late 2024. The policy minutes revealed that the decision to hold rates was “finely balanced” for some MPC members, who noted moderating but still high wage growth and services inflation since May.

Market Forecast: Bearish Outlook

Given the cautious stance of the BoE, combined with persistent inflation pressures and high wage growth, the short-term market outlook remains bearish. Traders should anticipate continued volatility as the BoE assesses the economic landscape and timing for any future rate cuts.

About the Author

James is a Florida-based technical analyst, market researcher, educator and trader with 35+ years of experience. He is an expert in the area of patterns, price and time analysis as it applies to futures, Forex, and stocks.

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