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BoE economist: Rates could stay lower without causing inflation spike

Julia Rampen
Written By:
Julia Rampen

The Bank of England’s chief economist has suggested interest rates could remain low for a protracted period without causing inflation to spike.

In June, Andrew Haldane had appeared open to the prospect of raising interest rates sooner than forward guidance suggested. However, based on recent economic data, he has now endorsed a more gradual approach.

Running counter to previous expectations that quantitative easing would cause a huge spike in inflation, Haldane said the outlook had changed substantially in the last three months.

The Monetary Policy Committee member said he was now “gloomier” when it came to the macro economy.

“That reflects the mark-down in global growth, heightened geopolitical and financial risks and the weak pipeline of inflationary pressures from wages internally and commodity prices externally,” he said.

“Taken together, this implies interest rates could remain lower for longer, certainly than I had expected three months ago, without endangering the inflation target.”

Reasons to be cheerful include the UK’s economic growth, low borrowing costs and improved employment figures, according to Haldane. However, he warned the lack of productivity and stagnation in real wages are “reasons to be fearful”.

UK inflation tumbled to its lowest level for five years earlier this week. The release from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation fell from 1.5% in August to 1.2% in September, confounding expectations for a more mild dip to 1.4%.