The Bank of England governor, Andrew Bailey, has said the difference between providing commentary on the state of the economy and what the central bank is likely to do with interest rates is hard to define.
“The boundary between a commentary and guidance is quite murky, actually, when you think about the words we use,”
The Bank shocked financial markets this month when it kept interest rates on hold at their pandemic lows. Investors had interpreted remarks made by Bailey in October as a signal that rates would rise at the November meeting of the monetary policy committee.
The next decision is due to be announced on December 16.
Answering questions, Bailey said there were three forms of forward guidance and the one that was currently in use was “not so much forward guidance as a reminder of where we are”.
He then went on to blame his predecessor for the confusion.
He said the system put in place by his predecessor, Mark Carney,
“is pretty hazardous [and] more hazardous in a more uncertain world”.
In 2013, Carney told markets that the Bank would consider raising
interest rates when unemployment fell to 7 per cent.
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