Bank of England votes against another cash boost for now
By Olesya Dmitracova and David Milliken | November 8, 2012 11:42 PM EST
The Bank of England opted on Thursday not to pump more cash into the fragile economy, as policymakers pin their hopes on the bank's new lending scheme and some worry about inflation.
The decision, which matched expectations, is likely to have been close, with the BoE's Monetary Policy Committee having to weigh Britain's surprisingly strong exit from recession in the third quarter against signs of renewed weakness since then.
And more money-printing is still on the cards, with analysts polled by Reuters forecasting another 50 billion pound dose ($80 billion) in the first quarter of 2013 to support the nascent recovery.
"We are pretty sure that the economy will need more stimulus in the months ahead," said Vicky Redwood at Capital Economics.
"And we do not think that the committee is out of firepower yet. In any case, conceding that there is nothing more it can do would hardly help confidence."
Several MPC members have voiced doubts about the continued effectiveness of its asset-buying programme in boosting the economy.
Redwood said that more gilt purchases were still likely in the near term, but afterwards "the MPC will have to venture into even more unconventional territory", for example buying private-sector assets.
After a two-day meeting, the MPC voted not to buy more British government bonds, having already bought 375 billion pounds' worth since the 2008-09 economic slump. It also kept its main interest rate at the record-low 0.5 percent, as predicted.
Sterling hit a five-week high against the euro after the Bank announcement, while gilts fell.
Attention will now turn to the quarterly inflation and growth forecast updates in the Bank's Inflation Report, which Governor Mervyn King will present on November 14.
Britain has not fully recovered the output lost in the wake of the financial crisis, while the euro zone's debt problems, government tax hikes and spending cuts to reduce the budget deficit and banks' reluctance to lend are all weighing on the economy.
Just three weeks ago, economists saw a 60 percent chance of another round of quantitative easing being unveiled this week.
But when they were asked the same question last week, in the wake of data showing British GDP growth of 1 percent between July and September, that probability fell to 40 percent.
Last month, Martin Weale said another round of quantitative easing might not be compatible with the bank's inflation target, while Bank chief economist Spencer Dale noted that inflation was sticky.
Inflation eased to 2.2 percent in September, holding above the 2 percent target even before hefty price rises by four of Britain's biggest energy suppliers kicked in.
Central bankers hope their new Funding for Lending Scheme will get credit flowing to households and businesses, but it may take another few months for its effects to show through.
The Bank will release the minutes of the latest meeting on November 21.
(Editing by Hugh Lawson)
Join the Conversation
- Tourre on stand says email in SEC case 'not accurate'
- Syrian authorities blocking access to needy in Homs - Red Cross
- Faith in European Union at low ebb, EU poll says
- Former UBS banker gets 18 months, $1 million fine, for muni bid-rigging scheme
- U.S. judge halts challenges to Detroit's bankruptcy bid
- Kobani ISIS Fighter Sends Out Desperate Message For Prayers And Support: Euphoria Turns Into Desperation As Kurds Advance
- Chris Algieri’s Battered Face Trends On Social Media
- Home Depot Early Black Friday 2014 Sale Up To Nov. 29, 2014 Includes Special Buys On Appliances Such As Samsung Refrigerators, Whirlpool Electric Ranges And Hoover Vacuum Cleaners
- Microsoft Band Runs Out Of Stock, But Offers $10 Gift Voucher To Wait-Listed Customers
- Black Friday Sale 2014 Deals From Amazon On Smartphones, TVs, Headsets And More
- Andrew Robb Asks Obama Not to ‘Lecture’ Australia on Climate Change
- Highest Paid NBA Players 2014: NBA Stars Who Earn More Than LeBron James