Bank of England downgrades United Kingdom growth forecast

Adjust Comment Print

Despite BOE governor Mark Carney warning only last February of the "twists and turns" heading into Brexit - nearly immediately proved true in mid-April when PM Theresa May called for general elections to be held on the 8th of June this year - the BOE remains optimistic over the growth outlook.

The BoE also said on Thursday that its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted 7-1 in favour of keeping rates on hold at their record low 0.25 percent, as expected in a Reuters poll.

Carney said the BoE had not tried to forecast what would happen if there was a "disorderly Brexit" where Britain crashes out of the European Union without an agreement on future trade relations.

Mr Carney said forecasts also assumed a "significant"
pick-up in wage growth, due in part to business concerns over the Brexit process starting to ease.

Over the same time period, shorter-term United Kingdom interest rates fell, with the sterling yield curve used to condition the forecast close to its lowest level since the start of the year.CPI inflation has risen above the MPC's 2% target as the depreciation of sterling has begun to feed through to consumer prices.

The central bank's Monetary Policy Committee expects to rise further over the year, peaking at a little below 3% in the fourth quarter.

Economists expect the BoE will trim its growth forecast for this year to account for the weak first quarter, but otherwise its economy and inflation projections will look similar to those from three months ago.

"However everything else was rather positive, with the BoE predicting real incomes to pick up and said first-quarter GDP growth was likely to be revised up".

'Wage growth, which has been notably lacklustre of late, is seen picking up sharply next year.

China, Vietnam agree to keep S. China Sea tensions in check
A year ago the tribunal invalidated China's claim to sovereignty over most of the South China Sea . Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines , Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

Carney says that the recent appreciation of the pound is related to expectations for a smoother Brexit.

Sterling fell as much as 0.6 percent to the day's lows and traded at $1.2855 at 1:19 p.m. London time. With unemployment falling to its estimated equilibrium rate, however, wage growth is expected to recover significantly, and the drag from domestic costs to lessen, over the same period.

Minutes of the rates meeting and the accompanying quarterly inflation report will be watched closely for the Bank's thoughts on the economy amid signs of a consumer spending downturn on the high street.

Only one panel member, former White House economic adviser Kristin Forbes, dissented, voting for an immediate increase in the rate to curb inflation.

"We stick with our view that the economic data will begin to roll over in response to Brexit uncertainty before the MPC gets a chance to raise rates - and that it might be another two years or more before the Bank can tighten", said analysts at Nomura.

'Overall, the Bank's report offers no reason to think that interest rates will move from their current rock-bottom levels for the foreseeable future.

Decently rational forecasts that could even have an upside surprise should the strength in the labour market continue - one that would encourage consumer spending.

Markets are now expecting rates to move higher at the start of 2019.