LONDON — The Bank of England will shortly announce the latest decisions made by its Monetary Policy Committee during their September meeting.
The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street will almost certainly leave both interest rates and its bond-buying programmes unchanged when the announcement comes at 12.00 p.m. BST (7.00 a.m. ET). That means rates staying at a record-low 0.25% and the bank’s QE programme capped at a maximum of £435 billion.
What is expected to change, however, is the tone taken by the central bank in its statements. The Bank is expected to prepare the markets, and the wider British public, for the possibility of an interest rate hike in the near future as inflation continues to surge.
“We believe that BoE officials may use the policy statement, accompanying minutes and vote split this week to try and shake up market expectations for the path of policy,” ING FX strategist Viraj Patel wrote this week.
A shift to a more hawkish tone has been telegraphed, with Governor Mark Carney saying after the previous meeting of the MPC that the current forecasts from the bank of one more rate hike in the next three years may be “insufficient.”
The composition of the vote from the MPC is also likely to change, with the arrival of new member Sir Dave Ramsden taking the committee back to a full complement of nine members. The MPC voted 6-2 to leave rates unchanged in August after BoE Chief Economist Andy Haldane failed to deliver on hints that he would vote for a hike.
He could change that vote this month, while Ramsden seems fairly certain to vote with the status quo, making a 6-3 vote likely.
This post will be updated after the Bank of England’s decision is announced.