Interest rate 'dissidents' are growing inside the Bank of England

Dissent against a persistently low interest rate policy is growing inside the Bank of England.

And this could lead to a split vote at the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting next month, according to a note from Barclays analysts.

A subtle change in the wording in the minutes of the last meeting this month is the key.

All nine MPC members voted to keep rates at 0.5, where they have been since March 2009, at a July 8 meeting, with the “dissidents” held back by fears the Greek economic crisis could spill over and hit UK growth.

But more members are having doubts.

“By dropping the reference to only ‘two members’ for whom the decision was ‘finely balanced’, and replacing it with ‘For a number of members,’ the minutes suggest that the group of ‘dissidents’ has grown,” according to the Barclays note.

The so-called dissidents believe that growing wages and falling unemployment could see the Bank of England overshoot its 2% inflation target if action on rates is taken too late.

“We believe that David Miles or even Kristin Forbes, who have been recently expressing optimistic if not bullish views on the UK economy, could have joined Martin Weale and Ian McCafferty in favouring an early rate hike,” Barclays said. “Support for a hike will likely continue to build as the year-end approaches, leading, we believe, to a hike in February 2016.”

That said, when it does happen, it’s likely to just be a 25 basis point hop, Barclays said, rather than a hike.

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