Today is Autumn Statement day, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer (George Osborne) outlines spending plans and related matters for the coming years.
By happenstance, Iain Duncan Smith has slipped out a statement that the Universal Credit programme may not meet its 2017 deadline. Ironically, in September, IDS had told MPs that the 2017 deadline remained in place.
In a damage limitation exercise the Reserve Bank insisted that the comment was “light-hearted”, this in turn lifted the dollar and prompted banks to withdraw their revised forecasts.
The bank’s deputy governor, Philip Lowe, was quoted by the Telegraph saying that the financial markets and the media had “misinterpreted” the comments, which were not supposed to be taken seriously.
"They were meant to be a light-hearted remark after what, he [Mr Stevens] reports to me, was a very light-hearted introduction.
I can confirm for you that the board did deliberate for a very long time. I can also confirm for you that it always deliberates for a very long time.”
Professionals such as Mr Steven should know that financial markets do not posses a sense of humour, especially in the current febrile atmosphere!