Bank of England Set to Accelerate Its Inflation Fight: Eco Week


The Bank of England is expected to step up its fight against inflation in the coming week, joining some 70 other institutions around the world in delivering a half-point increase in borrowing costs.

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The Bank of England is expected to step up its fight against inflation in the coming week, joining some 70 other institutions around the world in delivering a half-point increase in borrowing costs.

The move anticipated by most analysts and investors would mark the UK’s biggest increase in interest rates in 27 years and accelerate a historic pivot away from the era of cheap money. Governor Andrew Bailey has suggested the hike won’t be the last, saying policy makers are prepared to act “forcefully,” if necessary, to rein in inflation.

The BOE was first among major-economy central banks to raise rates after the pandemic, but is struggling to keep up with the US Federal Reserve, which has delivered back-to-back 75 basis-point hikes. Key rates now stand at 1.25% for the BOE, 2.5% for the Fed, and zero at the European Central Bank.

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The UK central bank’s move will add to the pressure on contenders seeking to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has promised tax cuts if she wins the race to lead the ruling Conservative Party. Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak says that would fan inflation, forcing interest rates to go even higher. 

With the BOE expecting prices to leap as much as 11% this year, consumers are feeling the sharpest squeeze in living standards in at least two decades and are calling for aid from the government. Even so, a half-point rate rise is no longer a sure thing. Risks of a recession prompted investors to pare back bets on of a big hike on Aug. 4. They now see a 70% chance of a move that size, down from near certainty just a week ago. 

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What Bloomberg Economics Says:

“The BOE signaled at its June meeting that it would ‘act forcefully’ if it saw signs of persistent inflationary pressure. We think the run of data since then will prompt a 50-basis-point hike in August. We expect policy makers to vote 7-2 in favor of raising rates to 1.75% from 1.25%. Jon Cunliffe and Silvana Tenreyro will probably favor a 25-basis point increase. Market pricing suggests a roughly 70% chance of a 50-basis point move.”

—Dan Hanson, senior economist. For full analysis, click here

Elsewhere, the US jobs report on Friday is unlikely to back a broader recession narrative, while central banks in Australia, India and Brazil are among those predicted to hike rates.

Click here for what happened last week and below is our wrap of what’s coming up in the global economy.

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US Economy and Canada

US employers probably added jobs at a healthy but more moderate clip in July and the unemployment rate continued to hold near a five-decade low, economists project the government to report on Friday. The data are expected to show a still-robust labor market — despite reports that some companies, particularly in the technology industry, are laying off workers or slowing hiring.

Earlier in the week, the government will issue its count of job vacancies in June. While openings have eased in recent months, they remain elevated and not far from the record 11.9 million seen in March.

Investors will also hear from a smattering of Fed officials this week, including regional presidents Loretta Mester, James Bullard and Charles Evans. After raising their benchmark interest rate by 75 basis points this past week, central bank watchers will listen for any clues on whether a similar-size rate hike is needed in September, after recent data showed a weak economy and persistent inflation. 

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Canada is also set to publish its July jobs report on Friday. Economists predict an increase in employment after a large number of workers dropped out of the labor force in June.

  • For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for the US

Asia

China releases PMIs for July on Sunday, with a modest recovery set to continue as the nation’s factories keep producing even as Covid restrictions remain an impediment. Factory gauges from other regional economies follow on Monday. 

Hong Kong’s economy probably contracted in the second quarter, tipping the economy back into recession for the first time since 2020. 

Reserve Bank of Australia chief Philip Lowe is widely expected to raise interest rates on Tuesday as he continues to make up for lost time in the fight against accelerating prices. The latest figures show headline inflation over 6%, not as rampant as feared, suggesting a half-percentage point hike will be sufficient. Attention will therefore likely focus on the rate trajectory going forward. 

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Inflation data out of South Korea the same day will shape expectations for the Bank of Korea’s next policy decision later in August. Export data for July will show how global demand is holding up, while providing the latest gauge of how a weak won and soaring import prices are exacerbating the country’s recent trade deficit. 

Japanese wage and household spending numbers at the end of the week are likely to support the Bank of Japan’s view that stimulus must continue for now. 

India’s central bank on Friday is expected to continue with monetary policy tightening as it seeks to defend the rupee and quell inflation, with markets closely watching for guidance on the future pace of increases.

  • For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for Asia

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Europe, Middle East, Africa

In the run-up to the BOE decision, manufacturing PMIs Monday and UK house prices on Tuesday are set to show a slowdown in the economy.

In Germany, which just reported a surprise stagnation for the second quarter, June factory orders and industrial production readings toward the end of the week are predicted to confirm that Europe’s biggest economy is on a weak footing.

On Thursday, the Czech central bank will decide on rates for the first time since the reconstitution of its policy-making board, with more dovish members replacing people who backed an unprecedented wave of nine interest-rate hikes since last year.

A day later, Romania is poised to further increase borrowing costs to try to tame the fastest inflation in almost two decades, and is likely to keep up the 100 basis-point hiking pace. Rate setters will also approve a new inflation forecast.

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Further south, data published on Wednesday is expected to show Turkish inflation accelerating further in June, possibly breaching 80% on an annual basis. The central bank raised its year-end inflation estimates last week, but said it sees price rises slowing, something most economists doubt. 

In Saudi Arabia, net foreign assets have increased for the past three months, a rare streak as high oil revenue boosts the kingdom’s coffers. New central bank data on Sunday will reveal whether that unusual run continued.

Data from Mauritius on Friday may show inflation slowed for a third straight month. That may prompt the central bank to keep interest rates on hold when it meets in August. Bank of Mauritius Governor Harvesh Seegolam earlier this month said future rate decisions will be based on domestic fundamentals, rather than mirroring the global trend to tighten monetary policy aggressively.

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  • For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for EMEA

Latin America

The week begins in earnest with Chile’s GDP-proxy indicator data for June, with the readings likely weaker than May’s surprisingly strong results.

Mexico’s remittance data for June may begin to see the effect of slowing global growth after hitting a monthly record $5.17 billion in May. In Peru, the July consumer price report may show both monthly and annual readings easing from June, though remaining well above the central bank’s target.

Colombia posts minutes from its July 29 meeting, where it delivered a second straight 150 basis-point hike to raise the key rate to 9%. Consumer price data out Friday may see annual inflation push right up to 10%, more than three times the central bank’s target. Persistently elevated core readings have many analysts forecasting additional tightening.

In Brazil, June industrial output data sets the stage for the central bank’s momentous August meeting. After a record 11 straight rate hikes, there’s little doubt among analysts that the bank will raise the benchmark Selic to at least 13.75% on Aug. 3, but no real consensus about what comes next. Even if the institution isn’t quite done tightening, it’s very, very close.

  • For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for Latin America

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