23 December 2021

Raising Rates at Just the Wrong Time

Not the Federal Reserve, it's the Bank of England raising rates by 15 basis points.

I do not consider this to be a particularly savvy move.  Between the UK getting hammered by Covid and Brexit, the last thing their economy needs is contractionary policy and a rising currency:

The Bank of England raised its benchmark interest rate to tame accelerating inflation, the first rate increase by a major central bank since the pandemic began.

Officials on the U.K. central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee voted eight to one to lift the BOE’s policy rate to 0.25% from a record low of 0.1%, saying the strength of the labor market meant higher borrowing costs were appropriate to keep a lid on price growth. 


The decision wasn’t widely expected. Though a rate rise had been telegraphed, many investors and economists judged the BOE would likely hold steady until early next year while the economic effect of Omicron became clearer.

The pound rose 0.75% against the dollar to $1.336. Yields on one-year U.K. gilts jumped 0.13 percentage points to 0.36%, their biggest increase since October, according to FactSet.

Consumer prices in the U.K. rose 5.1% in November compared with a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics said Wednesday, the biggest annual jump since Sept. 2011.

I can't but think that this is really about bolstering the financial center City of London, rather than dealing with inflation issues, which are pretty mild considering world supply chain issues and the impact of Brexit.



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