Two Bank of England members surprise by voting for rate cut


With a snap election due on December 12 and a new Brexit deadline set for January 31, the BoE is expected to keep its key policy rate unchanged at 0.75% and not give an explicit steer on where interest rates are headed. While broad consensus favors no change in the current monetary policy, amid Brexit uncertainty, joining a downward revision to growth and inflation forecasts, traders will particularly be interested in Governor Carney's speech for details.

The central bank appears to be waiting for more clarity over Britain's departure from the European Union, potentially after next month's general election. However, there were two members of the MPC that voted to cut rates.

Outgoing BoE governor Mark Carney, partaking in his penultimate rate decision, warned over the gloomy global outlook.

Though waning fears of a no-deal Brexit should help cushion growth in the near-term, the bank said the British economy will grow by around 1% less over the coming three years than it forecast just three months ago.

The central bank also upgraded its United Kingdom growth forecast to 1.4 percent in 2019 but downgraded 2020 guidance to 1.2 percent.

"This will no longer go ahead as the Cabinet Secretary has concluded that this would not be consistent with the Cabinet Office's general election guidance, ” the Office for Budget Responsibility said in a statement".

The noon rates decision will be accompanied by the bank's latest set of forecasts in its now renamed Monetary Policy Report, which are expected to slash its 2020 growth outlook from the 1.3% previously pencilled in.

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"We wouldn't rule out another hung parliament, which could either prolong Brexit uncertainty or alternatively see a Labour-led minority government begin organizing a second Brexit referendum", said James Smith, an economist at ING.

Commenting on the country's growth prospects, the committee said that the Brexit deal and flexible extension negotiated by prime minister Boris Johnson was likely to reduce uncertainty.

It said the remaining quarter of the fall in projections came from the impact of the proposed Brexit deal and the 2019 spending round.

Michael Saunders and Jonathan Haskel argued that the economy had "a modest but rising amount of spare capacity" and that underlying inflation was "subdued" below the bank's target rate of 2%.

Inflation, now 1.7%, is forecast to drop to 1.2% in the middle of next year due to lower oil prices and regulatory caps on electricity and water bills.

The bank said on Thursday that economic growth had been "volatile" in 2019, primarily because of Brexit-related factors.