The Bank of England is ready to alter its interest rates by as much as needed to bring the inflation back to the 2 percent target, Governor Andrew Bailey said in a statement late Monday.
The BoE governor said the central bank is closely monitoring the weakness in the pound.
The currency weakened to a record low over the weekend against the U.S. dollar after the new Treasurer Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini budget announcement last Friday, which included massive tax cuts and energy price guarantee. The government bonds also came under severe selling pressures amid concerns over the sustainability of public finances.
Markets widely expect a non-scheduled interest rate hike from the BoE if the currency situation does not improve.
The BoE has been tightening its monetary policy since December 2021 to tame surging inflation. The bank expects inflation to peak below 11.0 percent in October.
Bailey said the energy price guarantee will help to reduce the near-term peak in inflation.
“I welcome the Government’s commitment to sustainable economic growth, and to the role of the Office for Budget Responsibility in its assessment of prospects for the economy and public finances,” said Bailey.
The governor said the monetary policy committee will make a full assessment at its next scheduled meeting of the impact on demand and inflation from the Government’s announcements, and the fall in sterling, and act accordingly.
The BoE’s statement released late on Monday’s session did not seem to calm expectations of an emergency inter-meeting hike, economists at ING said. There are other areas where the BoE and Treasury can restore confidence, they added.
Kwarteng unveiled an update on the Growth Plan announced on September 23. The chancellor will set out his Medium-Term Fiscal Plan on November 23.
He confirmed that there will be a Budget in the Spring, with a further Office for Budget Responsibility forecast.
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