Sterling headed for 4th successive weekly decline after BoE holds rates

Mark Carney

The pound nosedived yesterday as the BoE's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted 7-2 to leave interest rates on hold in May.

Archer further noted that the MPC expected growth to improve in the second quarter to 0.4 percent over the quarter, and return to a growth rate around 1.75 percent over the medium term, a little above the official data body the Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimate of annual growth capability of about 1.5 percent.

Carney said in February that rates might go up sooner than the BoE had previously suggested, and was asked by a reporter on Thursday about the description of him as an "unreliable boyfriend" - first used by a British lawmaker because of his previous signals about when rates might rise, which misfired.

The rate has now changed just twice since March 2009 when it was lowered to a then record low of 0.5 percent in the wake of the financial crisis.

May Inflation report is a dovish turn from the Bank of England that tried to downplay the erratic effect of the economic slowdown at the beginning of this year, but still saying that inflation drivers will be increasingly on domestic side moving away from the effect of past Sterling depreciation.

Markets still think there is more chance than not of a 25 basis point interest rate rise in 2018 but that probability fell on Thursday.

The outlook for the interest rate path in the United Kingdom after May Inflation Report from the Bank of England sees even lower than 90 percent chance for the bank to move in November.

Carney later told BBC television that interest rates were likely to rise by the end of this year.

It increased by only 0.1 per cent in April against forecasts it would tick up by 0.2 per cent.

But the bank's caution is not expected to last indefinitely.

Carney said data looked "mixed" and hinted at MPC disagreements. This is less than market expectations for growth of 1.4%, the fourth straight quarter of decelerating year-on-year growth since the March quarter of last year and the slowest rate of growth since the June 2012 quarter. But "there was value in seeing how the data unfolded over the coming months", they added.

"The Bank of England May Inflation Report says". The slowing trend in growth in consumer prices has made it less pressing.

Practically, this largely involves the Bank adjusting interest rates to try and keep inflation at, or as close to, a target of 2%.

And while Brexit-fuelled inflation has fallen sharper than expected in recent months, the Bank said rate hikes would still be needed over the next three years, with cost pressures building in the economy.

But like bad weather, Brexit appears to be a variable that's hard to predict.

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