British pound moves up as BoE's Haldane calls for rate hike


Bank of England governor Mark Carney will not be addressing the media tomorrow

Members of the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted 6-3 to keep rates unchanged, with Andy Haldane switching sides to join fellow dissenters Ian McCafferty and Michael Saunders in pushing for an immediate hike to 0.75%.

Today, the Bank of England (BoE) interest rate decision could be a huge event for Sterling as the Monetary Policy Committee's (MPC) comments will be very much in the limelight.

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at the EY Item Club, said: "It is now touch and go as to whether the Bank ofEngland raises interest rates in August or holds off until November".

Mr Haldane is seen as an influential member of the Monetary Policy Committee, which sets interest rates in order to target inflation at 2 per cent support the United Kingdom economy.

Bank of England (BoE) policymakers will meet at noon to discuss interest rates; the BoE's meeting minutes and a press conference by Governor Mark Carney is likely to influence the pound USA dollar exchange rate this afternoon.

Sterling jumped on the news, gaining nearly a cent against the dollar as traders factored in a bigger chance of a move in August.

"Historically we've seen lenders begin increasing their rates in the weeks leading up to an anticipated base rate rise".

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The Bank has said it wants to wait and see "how the data unfolded" over the coming months before raising rates. The pound jumped to $1.3206 from $1.3125 just before the decision was released.

But the bounce by the pound was limited ahead of the BoE's policy-setting meeting later on Thursday, which is expected to set the currency's near-term direction as the central bank weighs the prospects of a interest rate hike.

Mr Haldane was a new addition to the pro-rate hike contingent and this news boosted hopes for an August interest rate hike.

With this surprise hawkishness from certain members, Ed Monk, associate director for Personal Investing at Fidelity International, adds: "The Bank of England does, however, appear to be standing firm on its desire to hike rates in August, even in the wake of recent weaker than expected economic data".

Last week, the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates and the European Central bank set an end-date for asset purchases.

For the three calling for a hike, the minutes revealed "these members had a higher degree of confidence that the slowdown in the first quarter was temporary or erratic and would largely be unwound".

The BoE said unwinding its balance sheet would take place over "a number of years at a gradual and predictable pace".

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