Improved market sentiment has helped push the pound higher against the euro and the US dollar. Comments from two of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members Silvana Tenreyro and Catherine Mann, who spoke out against an early rate rise, did not affect the pound.
The British pound rose despite comments from the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Silvana Tenreyo, who said the current rise in UK inflation is temporary and that it was early to raise interest rates.
In other news, the European Union threatened to retaliate if the UK abandons the Northern Ireland deal. Nevertheless, Sterling rose on improved risk sentiment.
Bank of England
Two of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee members have said they prefer to wait and see how gas prices and shortages of raw materials will influence inflation before voting for an interest rate hike. Both economists highlighted that economic recovery remained uncertain.
Catherine Mann, who is a former chief economist at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the US bank Citi, said that it was best to wait and see as traders are currently betting on tighter monetary policy in the UK and US. Mann said that market participants were doing the bank’s job because by speculating on what the bank will do have driven the cost of borrowing in financial markets higher, which, as Mann explained, is what a rate rise would do. She noted: “They see that monetary policy normalisation is the direction of travel … and so they are doing their homework and they are starting to price in that direction of travel.”
Silvana Tenreyro was also against an early rate hike. Speaking to BusinessLive Wales, she said even a rate rise could be “self-defeating” if inflationary pressures prove to be temporary. Tenreyro said that the current level of inflation was considered against last year’s low prices. Additionally, the surge in the global price of energy and other commodities pushed inflation higher but these are usually temporary. Tenreyro explained: “The prices go up, but they don’t keep going up sustainably, so you have a one-off price effect and in that sense inflation should be transitory. She also said: “By the time interest rates were having a major effect on inflation, the effects of energy prices would already be dropping out of the inflation calculation. If some effects were to prove more persistent, it would be important to balance the risks from a period of above target inflation with the cost of weaker demand.”
Many investors are speculating that the BoE will raise interest rates before the end of the year, becoming the first major central bank to raise rates since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Foreign exchange investors are interested to see how central banks will choose to act and when they plan to raise interest rates.
The Pound's rally higher despite dovish comments by Tenreyro, suggest that her views are already known and unsurprising and are not powerful enough to deter the majority of the Bank’s members raising interest rates. Some analysts expect an early rise to boost the pound, while others are arguing that a rate rise might be bad for the pound as it might raise costs at a time that growth is slowing down.
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