The Bank of England is likely to hike interest rates to their highest level in 13 years this week, as well as reveal how it intends to offload some of its 847 billion pounds ($1.1 trillion) in government bond holdings, reported Bloomberg.
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The decision would put the Bank of England in uncharted terrain, given none of its major-economy counterparts have yet sold government assets collected through quantitative easing since 2008.
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Policymakers, led by Governor Andrew Bailey, must strike a balance between measures to manage inflation, which has risen to a 30-year high, and the danger that hiking interest rates may delay the recovery, according to Bloomberg.
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“The BOE is in an awkward position as the war in Ukraine has exacerbated the already toxic mix of slowing growth and high inflation,” said Silvia Dall’Angelo, senior economist at Federated Hermes Ltd.
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Markets, investors, and economists anticipate that the nine-member monetary policy committee will vote on Thursday to raise the benchmark lending rate by a quarter-point to 1%. This would be the fourth hike in a row, matching the level in February 2009, when the Bank of England was aggressively slashing borrowing prices during the financial crisis.
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A quarter-point increase would bring rates to the level at which policymakers have stated that they will consider beginning active sales of the gilt portfolio, which peaked at 875 billion pounds at the end of last year, as per Bloomberg.
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The “quantitative tightening” procedure began in March when 28 billion pounds of gilts matured and were removed from the balance sheet. Investors are concerned that aggressive sales may unsettle markets in the absence of a disclosed and defined plan.
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Along with Thursday’s rate announcement, the UK’s central bank is anticipated to undertake consultation or review into active sales to provide clarity.
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Along with the rate announcement, the BOE will release its most recent inflation and growth estimates. These are projected to show inflation approaching double digits by the end of the year and economic growth grinding to a halt.