Bank rates to rise sooner than markets expect: Bank of England governor

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The bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members voted unanimously to keep rates on hold, but said they would need to rise "somewhat earlier and by a somewhat greater extent" than previously outlined to prevent the economy overheating.

Many savings accounts are already loss-leaders for banks and building societies and so they are less likely than mortgage lenders to pass on any rise in interest rates. Also, the meeting came at a time when there are uncertainties in the United Kingdom, crude oil are rising, and the inflation rate is above the target.

The Bank also released the letter sent by governor Mark Carney to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, to explain why inflation had breached the target rate of 3% in November. Prices have risen sharply due to the pound's plunge after the June 2016 vote for Brexit, which simultaneously pushed up import costs, notably of food and energy, and weighed on economic growth by reducing households' purchasing power. This language was similar to that of their September meeting which came a month before the first hike.

There are downsides to the MPC's projections. Today, the price of crude oil has soared to the highest level in three years, which could affect the country's inflation.

It also thinks that United Kingdom wage growth will start to pick-up, giving the economy a further boost.

Pay growth has gathered a bit of pace and Carney says it might overtake inflation this year, restoring some spending power to households.

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THE BANK of England upgraded its growth prediction for the British economy this week - becoming the latest forecaster to make a dramatic U-turn on doom-mongering Brexit warnings.

Before the meeting, traders were waiting for the language of the statement. In the conference, Carney talked about their thinking about the current United Kingdom economy, the uncertainties ahead, and the risks associated with Brexit.

Growth is modest by historic standards and the United Kingdom has gone from the fastest growing economy among the G7 largest global economies to the slowest. That's more than double the gap for the first quarter of 2019, even though what happens further in the future normally involves a broader range of uncertainty.

ING Research discusses GBP outlook and maintains its bullish bias on GBP/USD targeting 1.45 in Q1 (see here), while sees better tactical opportunities in selling EUR/GBP around current levels.

"At the moment, November's upward move in Bank Base Rate does not feel like it was a turning point in interest rates, and, in any case, defined benefit pension scheme stakeholders will be conscious that increases in Bank Base Rate in isolation do not necessarily directly lead to increases in long term gilt yields, and so may not have a material positive impact on funding issues".

One major factor beyond the control of Governor Mark Carney and the rest of the Monetary Policy Committee is what will happen to Britain's attempts to negotiate a new trade relationship with the European Union, its main trading partner.