In its latest rate decision, the Bank of England laid down heavy hints about raising the rates soon. The meeting minutes were followed by hawkish comments from Carney and a few colleagues and a November hike was penciled in.
The pound also reacted quite strongly, with GBP/USD hitting a high of 1.3614. Since then, Sterling fell quite a lot due to various reasons: deadlocked Brexit talks, mixed economic data, a stronger US dollar and more. Also, the BOE seemed slightly hesitant. The hike in November will probably be a one-off: an undoing of the rate cut in August 2016, the quick move after the EU Referendum.
Without a full tightening cycle or a series of hikes, the pound lost some ground. But is this hike really going to come? November seemed like the perfect timing, as it coincides with the Bank’s Quarterly Inflation Report (QIR). Making a big announcement on Super Thursday, alongside new forecasts, makes sense.
November hike or November rain?
But now, doubts are creeping in. John Cunliffe, a member of the Monetary Policy Committee, is unsure about the timing of the rate hike. He says that the economy has clearly slowed and that he does not want to anticipate a hike in November.
Will he be a dovish dissenter, voting against the hike? Will the BOE decide NOT to hike rates at this juncture? Or has he hinted at a poor GDP figure? In any case, a November hike seemed like a sure thing, and now it may not necessarily be the case.
The pound is not really reacting, trading quite calmly at the known range, around 1.3180. Yet if he foresaw the GDP and if he is joined by additional voices, perhaps GBP/USD could plunge under 1.30. We will get the GDP data on Wednesday.