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The Bank of England (BoE) is widely expected to keep rates on hold at its policy meeting on Thursday. In May, BoE governor Mark Carney said an interest rate rise in the next year is ‘more likely than not’, according to Channel 4 news. However, in an interview this week with IG ahead of the central bank’s rate decision, former BoE policymaker and current advisor to PWC, Andrew Sentance, warned that we should ‘be wary about Mark Carney’s statements’. He said the central bank has been ‘very slow to take action’, and ‘doesn’t have the confidence that actually small rises in interest rates won’t harm growth’. The longstanding monetary policy hawk argued that small interest rate increases could help growth by boosting returns to savers, giving support to the pound and taking the pressure off consumers.
When is the next hike?
While a hike is extremely unlikely this month, the market is currently pricing in a 49.4% chance of a rate rise in August. That would be likely to move the base rate by a quarter of a point to 0.75% from 0.50%. Sentance told IG he hopes ‘they seriously consider it’. His hawkish argument is that starting early with gradual rate rises will prevent sharper and more disruptive hikes later down the line.