This does smack of desperation, doesn’t it? From the FT on Thursday morning:
Osborne will use his Budget on March 20 to reinforce his message of “fiscal conservatism and monetary activism” by clarifying how the government intends to use monetary policy to get the economy growing again.
Like Top Trumps, just not as much fun…
The question mark in the header is just so as to (reluctantly) give the Bank of England the benefit of the doubt.
Here are the latest stats on the Funding for Lending Scheme, which was supposed to pump £100bn into households and businesses in the UK. Six months in, £13.8bn has been drawn down by British banks, £9.5bn of that coming in the final quarter of 2012. Read more
Okay. Negative interest rates have now gone fully mainstream in the UK thanks to this week’s testimony by Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker.
Even the Daily Mail is writing about it.
But a number of major misunderstandings are popping up as a result. So let us try to clear some of them up. Read more
Throwing around the negative interest rates idea has become very trendy all of a sudden with Draghi, Praet and Constancio weighing in and, we’d argue, using the threat to substitute for policy impotence.
So, was Bank of England deputy governor Paul Tucker doing the same thing on Tuesday morning in front of a Parliamentary committee? Using a jedi-trick to talk down sterling perchance? It’s not a phrase you use lightly and it seems unlikely he would have whacked it out completely unintended. But it has to be said, if he was going Jedi here, the effect didn’t last all that long. Read more
That’s the considered opinion of Julian D. A. Wiseman (most recently head of UK rates strategy at Société Générale but writing on his personal blog here) on the Monday after Moody’s cut its credit rating for the UK from Aaa to Aa1, taking the Bank of England down with it. For those keeping count, that makes it a downgrade that was neither surprising, nor informative nor, in itself, damaging (as Martin Wolf put it)… but more to the point it was just plain silly. Read more
We tried to explain the QE surplus ‘raid’ before but never approached the crystal clear clarity of Thursday’s ONS release on the treatment of cash transfers from the BoE to the Treasury (the release of which accompanies the news that public finances improved in January although they were flattered by such transfers): Read more
Here’s the dovish BoE minutes that started sterling sliding (click through for the pdf): Read more
So the Bank of England has decided to give its new-fangled biannual Money Market Liaison Group Sterling Money Market Survey (first launched in May 2011) more oomph.
No longer will the results sit, largely unnoticed, in one of the Bank’s quarterly bulletins. From now on the survey will be presented on a standalone basis, with its very own pdf and cover illustration, which looks like this: Read more
This alarming gilt fact is brought to you by Bank of America Merril Lynch and it underlines one of the main fears many people raised about the QE surplus “raid” staged by the Her Majesty’s Treasury on the Bank of England last year.
From BofAML’s John Wraith (our emphasis):
As a result of the dramatic spike higher in yields that occurred over the first week or so of the New Year, the mark-to-market value of the BoE’s portfolio of Gilts acquired through QE over the past four years dropped by more than £7bn. This exceeds the largest decline in the portfolio’s value in any full month since QE began by more than £1.5bn, emphasizing both the extent of the rise in yields, and also the very large size the BoE’s holdings have reached (£326.7bn in nominal terms, with a basis point value of about £360m).
Fresh from the Bank of England — it’s a draft Policy Statement explaining the planned powers for the Financial Policy Committee to give directions setting extra capital requirements for the purposes of financial stability. Click the image for the full doc:
Nowadays, the idea of not having an independent central bank is seen as being a bit backward. One could even say that central bank independence is widely accepted as the optimum set-up for any country’s monetary system, a reflection of its developmental status.
“Independent central bank? Check.”
“This country must be civilised. ”
Yet, can we really be so absolute about the matter? Read more
BoE governor-to-be Mark Carney made a speech titled ‘Guidance’ last night. It was all about communications strategies, for both companies and central banks — a very interesting topic for students of monetary Jedi tactics.
Carney stressed at the beginning that his talk would be about guidance, and not containing guidance. Tee hee! However, he did drop the N-bomb and when a central bank governor talks in positive terms about a non-mainstream monetary policy framework, it’s… interesting. Read more
Not since Andy Haldane noted that an impatient market was not a happy market, has the BoE looked at the issue of high frequency trading and its effects on market quality – and particularly price discovery – in such depth.
From the abstract of the Bank’s latest working paper, by Evangelos Benos and Satchit Sagade, on Monday (our emphasis): Read more
Right, we should have got around to this one a while ago but… we didn’t.
Last month, November 9 to be precise, something pretty notable happened in the world of central banking. Read more
The Bank of England has published the first data from its new-fangled Funding for Lending Scheme. At first blush, the numbers look pathetic: net lending grew a paltry £500m in the three months to end-September, while total drawdowns from the FLS amounted to £4.5bn, against a potential pot of £100bn.
But that would be us jumping to conclusions, prematurely. As the Bank says: Read more
Canada’s central bank governer Mark Carney may have played hard to get with British chancellor George Osborne, but Ozzy was up for the challenge. Doubt this man’s resolve at your peril. Read more
We say old – he’s only 47. But what kind of “quality guvnor” (George Osborne’s words) will Mark Carney be at the Bank of England?
Well, one thing pops out from the Bank of Canada press release announcing Carney’s move across the Atlantic: “The Governor will remain Chair of the Financial Stability Board.” Emphasis ours. Read more
Rather unexpectedly, Mark Carney gets the job.
The verdict is still out as to how much the Bank of England’s latest attempt to boost the economy is actually working. There are indications that Funding for Lending is helping ease credit flows, but we won’t know how attractive the low-cost financing actually is to banks until the FLS usage data for Q3 is released on December 3. It’s hoped that it will get up to £80bn of extra credit into the economy.
The scheme was launched this summer, and on Tuesday the BoE published a full list of participating banks along with their total lending to UK households and ‘private non-financial corporations’ (as of end of June). A total of 17 new institutions have got onboard since the launch, mostly building societies, but the Co-Op, Clydesdale and Tesco were also new joiners. HSBC is not on the list. Read more
Lending to UK households picked in September, driven mainly by a sharp rise in unsecured lending, according Bank of England data out on Monday.
Total lending to individuals (excluding student loans) rose by £1.7 billion in September, compared to the previous six-month average increase of £0.6 billion. The twelve-month growth rate was 0.7% (Table A). Read more
Credit Suisse’s answer last week to the (rather odd) idea of the British government “cancelling” (restructuring) the gilts held by its central bank under quantitative easing…
From the bank’s credit analyst William Porter, it’s worth a read:
Any financial problem can be solved at a stroke if double-entry book-keeping can be ignored as a constraint. The problem is, it cannot. So debate in the private-sector financial community about “solutions” to the UK’s financial challenges based on ignoring it worry us. In the UK, Mervyn King has been quick to debunk the fallacies. But if they can exist even for a while in the very simple UK, then the infinitely more complex euro area (which we do not address in detail here) is fertile ground for solutions based on fallacious reasoning…
A particularly charged address from the Governor, perhaps…
FSA chief, Lord Turner, gave a *cough* wide ranging speech last night in the City. From the FT:
Although the FSA chairman never mentioned that he had applied to replace Sir Mervyn King as a potential governor of the Bank of England, the speech highlighted his willingness to take bold and unorthodox action to promote growth.
Lord Turner, Paul Tucker, a deputy governor, and Sir John Vickers are among the leading candidates to take charge of the BoE, which will have expanded powers next year. Paddy Power, the bookmaker, puts even odds on Mr Tucker. Sir John is at 4-1 and Lord Turner 9-2.
Here’s the full thing for those who want it. And some excerpts if you don’t (with our emphasis): Read more
Mervyn King gave a “personal assessment” of the inflation targeting regime over the past twenty years on Tuesday night. And seemed to suggest that it may be best to allow UK inflation to over-shoot the 2 per cent target given the current economic environment in order to minimise volatility. Read more
The window to apply for Mervyn’s seat at the Bank of England just crashed shut. Gus decided against making a pitch and Glenn is looking shaky. Leaving Tucker in the lead, with Turner in second place… unless somebody has ghosted in under the radar, that is. Read more
To summarise my assessment of markets at this point I would no longer say that they are healing. Rather, markets are scarring over – adapting and evolving to the new environment.
That’s from the BoE’s Paul Fisher’s speech to Richmond University. It’s worth a read. Read more
The minutes to the Bank of England’s September meeting are out, and we can’t help being drawn to the following comments about the UK’s labour productivity puzzle (our emphasis):
The labour market had remained surprisingly resilient in the face of the contraction in activity. The unemployment rate had fallen to 8% in the second quarter, its lowest level for around a year, and employment was estimated to have risen by more than 200,000, with a rise in permanent employees accounting for more than half the increase. Read more
‘… 3 Sunday…13th after Trinity…11am WAR’
That’s from the August-September 1939 diary of Montagu Norman, the Bank of England’s longest serving governor, who held the job down from 1920 to 1944. Click to view. Read more