Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Is the Stocks Bull Market Over? Dow Trend Forecast into End January 2015 - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Gold and Silver Stocks Apocalypse Now, Bear Market Review - Rambus_Chartology
3.NHS Baldrick Plan to Spread Ebola Across UK - Sheffield, Newcastle, Liverpool, London Hospitals - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Ebola Terror Threat Suicide Bio-Weapons Threatens Multiple 9/11's, Global Plague - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Second-Richest Man Says Mortgages Now a "No Brainer" - Dr. Steve Sjuggerud
6.Gold And Silver Still No End In Sight - Michael_Noonan
7.NHS Baldrick Plan to Spread Ebola Across UK - Sheffield, Newcastle, Liverpool, London Hospitals - Nadeem_Walayat
8.The Gold Bug is Set to Bite Back - EWI
9.How Alibaba Could Capitalize on the EBay-PayPal Split - Frank_Holmes
10.The Consequences of the Economic Peace - John_Mauldin
Last 5 days
Don't Get Ruined by These 10 Popular Investment Myths (Part VII) - 22nd Oct 14
Follow the Baby Boom to Biotech Stock Profits - 22nd Oct 14
Copper, Nickel and Zinc Won't Be Cheap for Long - 22nd Oct 14
How Will We Know That the Gold & Silver Price Bottom Is In? - 21st Oct 14
Is Gold as Dead as Florida Hurricanes? - 21st Oct 14
First Swiss Gold Poll Shows Pro-Gold Side In Lead At 45% - 21st Oct 14
The Similarities Between Germany and China - 21st Oct 14
The REAL Reason Why the Stock Market Turned Down - 21st Oct 14
Petrobras is a 'Scheme, Not a Stock' - 21st Oct 14
Stocks Bear Market Indicator Is Off the Mark - 20th Oct 14
Stock Market Ideal Turning Point is at Hand - 20th Oct 14
Investors Quit Complaining, The Environment is Perfect Right Now - 20th Oct 14
Ebola Armageddon Could Trigger a Rebirth in Gold and Silver Prices - 20th Oct 14
Gold vs Euro Risk Due To Possible Return of Italian Lira - Drachmas, Escudos, Pesetas and Punts? - 20th Oct 14
Stocks Rebounded Following Recent Sell-Off, But Will It Last? - 20th Oct 14
U.S. Responsible for West Africa Ebola Outbreak Says Liberian Scientist - 20th Oct 14
Stock Market Intermediate B Wave has Started - 20th Oct 14
Gold Stocks Analysis – FNV, CG, NCM, SBM - 19th Oct 14
Stock Market Primary IV Wave Counter Trend Rally - 19th Oct 14
Gold And Silver - Financial World: House Of Cards Built On Sand - 18th Oct 14
Anatomy of a Stock Market Sell-Off - 18th Oct 14
Why OPEC Has Declared an Oil War on Russia - 18th Oct 14
Gold and Silver Extreme Shorting Peaks - 18th Oct 14
Bitcoin Price Fall to $350? - 18th Oct 14
Tesco Supermarket Crisis Worse To Come as Customers Vanish! - 18th Oct 14
Sheffield Roma Crisis School Place Application's Fraud Perfect Storm - 17th Oct 14
Stock Markets, Commodities and Indicators - 17th Oct 14
“Save Our Swiss Gold ” - Game Changer For Gold? - 17th Oct 14
How to Trade the Ebola Stock Market Sell-Off - 17th Oct 14
When... Not if... Crude Oil Price Drops Below $70 - 17th Oct 14
Either You're The Butcher or You're The Cattle - 17th Oct 14
Gold Benefits from Market Uncertainty - 17th Oct 14
Stock Market Pullback Underway, Euro downside, Commodities - 17th Oct 14
Stock Market Seven Year Cycle and A Correction Ahead? - 17th Oct 14
Three Ways to Play Uranium: Top Stock Picks - 17th Oct 14
America Flirts With Deflation - 17th Oct 14
Why the Fed Should Consider Delaying the End of QE - 16th Oct 14
Gold Prices Since 9-11 - 16th Oct 14
The Inflation Imputation, Dear Saver, May You RIP - 16th Oct 14
Flight To Safety - Gold Rises As Stocks, European Bonds Sink - 16th Oct 14
The March Of History And The End Of Nations - 16th Oct 14
Stocks Bear Markets Move Fast and Are Intensely Emotional - 16th Oct 14
Stocks Got Their Piece – Now It’s Our Turn - 16th Oct 14

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Stocks Epic Bear Market

UK: Interest Rate Hike Expectations Ease But Don't Rule Out Further Tightening

Economics / UK Interest Rates Mar 22, 2007 - 12:01 PM GMT

By: Victoria_Marklew

Economics

The minutes of the March 8 meeting of the Bank of England's (BoE) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) have caught the markets by surprise, with an unexpectedly-dovish 8-1 vote to leave rates on hold, and the one dissenter a vote for a rate cut. The members noted that "the upside risk to inflation from wage growth might have started to diminish," and "financial market volatility added to the case for holding rates." So, can we assume that the current 5.25% repo rate is the peak? Not yet.

Yesterday came the news that the EU-harmonized rate of inflation , HICP, hit 2.8% in February, up from 2.7% in January - still far above the BoE's 2.0% medium-term target. The Retail Prices Index (RPI), the basis for most wage negotiations, climbed to a 16-year high of 4.6%.


Last week, the BoE's quarterly inflation survey found that expectations for the rate of inflation over the coming year were unchanged from the November survey, at 2.7%. While this remains well above the BoE's 2.0% target, the stabilization of expectations is likely to be comforting to the members of the MPC. However, with the RPI at a 16-year high, there is still a risk to inflation expectations.

Last week's report on average earnings showed the fastest three-month rate of growth since the summer, with November-January earnings up an annual 4.2% (4.0% in October-December). However, excluding bonuses, which were concentrated in the booming financial services industry, earnings growth eased from 3.7% to 3.6% - suggesting that the closely-watched January pay round was relatively benign.

The British Bankers' Association reported a fall in the growth of credit card debt in February, marking seven straight months of lower consumer borrowing. On the other hand, the housing market continues to show a surprising level of resilience despite three rate hikes since last August. Underlying net mortgage lending rose by a still-robust £5.2 billion in February, down only slightly from £5.4 billion in January. Still, this did mark three successive months in which lending rose by slightly less than the month before, suggesting that we may be seeing the start of a moderating trend.

However, data from the Building Societies' Association showed that mortgage approvals, a forward looking indicator of housing demand, rose a seasonally adjusted £5.4 billion last month, down only slightly from the record-high £5.8 billion seen in January, and the highest level on record for the month of February. And, money supply growth remains strong, climbing an annual 12.8% in February (12.9% in January). All told, it is too soon to call the end of the current housing cycle recovery.

Over on the fiscal side of the policy equation, Chancellor (and PM-in-waiting) Brown today delivered his eleventh consecutive annual budget (making him the longest-serving Chancellor since the 1820s). It clearly was designed to win back support for the Labour Party ahead of PM Blair's retirement (expected within the next six months) without totally undermining Brown's reputation for relative fiscal prudence.

The Chancellor announced headline-catching cuts in the basic rate of income tax and in the corporation tax, but also tweaked some other tax margins such that the overall impact of fiscal policy should be broadly neutral. However, Brown's forecast of a gradually-narrowing fiscal deficit looks overly optimistic. It is based on the assumption that GDP growth will climb as high as 3.25% this year and 3.00% in 2008. With this year's growth likely to be closer to the 2.74% seen in 2006, tax revenue is likely to fall short of the projection.

So, where does all this lead interest rates? The prospect of one more rate hike in April or May has dimmed a little but not disappeared. In its February Inflation Report the BoE concluded that inflation would be slightly above the 2.0% target in two years time if the repo rate stayed at 5.25%. And while the MPC seems to be feeling more sanguine - even the two most hawkish members voted to stay on hold this month - they are not yet ready to rule out the need for additional tightening.

The minutes note that most members felt that risks to inflation in the medium-term remain "on the upside" due to capacity constraints, strong price intentions among businesses and strong money supply growth. Key reports due before the April 5 MPC meeting include February retail sales (March 22), and BoE consumer credit and mortgage lending for February, due on March 29.

By Victoria Marklew
The Northern Trust Company
Economic Research Department - Daily Global Commentary

Victoria Marklew is Vice President and International Economist at The Northern Trust Company, Chicago. She joined the Bank in 1991, and works in the Economic Research Department, where she assesses country lending and investment risk, focusing in particular on Asia. Ms. Marklew has a B.A. degree from the University of London, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and a Ph.D. in Political Economy from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Cash, Crisis, and Corporate Governance: The Role of National Financial Systems in Industrial Restructuring (University of Michigan Press, 1995).

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of The Northern Trust Company. The Northern Trust Company does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of information contained herein, such information is subject to change and is not intended to influence your investment decisions.


© 2005-2014 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014