BoE Leaves Interest Rates Alone

BoE Leaves Interest Rates Alone

over 3 years ago2 mins

The Bank of England (BoE) announced it’d leave the UK’s key interest rate unchanged on Thursday, but it might only be a matter of time before it’s forced to cut rates ✂️

What does this mean?

The BoE’s decision comes after identical ones this month by the US Federal Reserve (the Fed), European Central Bank, and Bank of Japan. But where they see an improving economic outlook, the BoE warned the UK’s early recovery could implode. That’s because a no-deal Brexit could cause even more damage than the pandemic itself – not to mention that unemployment could shoot up when the UK’s support for furloughed workers stops next month.

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Those risks have spooked the BoE so much it’s considering cutting UK interest rates into negative territory 📉 That should keep the economy ticking over, but it’s not great news for commercial banks: negative rates are negative for profits, as eurozone banks know all too well, Good thing the BoE’s in damage control discussions with the UK banks’ regulator, then…

Why should I care?

When central banks lower interest rates, it usually boosts the region’s stocks by making them appear more attractive than low-returning savings accounts. But investors who buy cheap-looking British stocks in hopes of an imaginary recovery risk getting caught in a “value trap” 🇬🇧 And that, plus the increased likelihood of negative UK rates, might’ve encouraged investors to ditch British assets on Thursday – including the pound, which initially fell 0.5% versus the US dollar.

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The BoE said it wouldn’t raise rates until inflation – i.e. the rate at which prices of goods and services increase – rises more quickly. The Fed said the same on Thursday, but also predicted US interest rates won’t increase until 2023 🏦 That’s caused confusion: those rates should stay low for longer given that the Fed thinks inflation will only be 2% by then. Remember, it recently promised to let inflation run higher than that for a while…

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