Pound slumps as Carney casts doubt on May hike


Pound Sterling took a hammering after London markets closed on Thursday, April 19 after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney cooled expectations for a May interest rate rise.

Bank of England rate setters have sent mixed signals over whether to hike United Kingdom interest rates next month, pointing to the prospect of a split vote.

Sterling fell to a three-week low against the dollar after his comments, and on Friday interest rate swaps priced in a less than 50 percent chance of a rate rise in May, which would be only the second from the BoE since the financial crisis. However, he said it was important to look through short-term volatility and consider the overall momentum of the economy.

But in an interview with the BBC, the governor said there was still a lot to consider, such as the strength of global growth, before any announcement is due on 10 May.

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"The biggest set of economic decisions over the course of the next few years are going to be taken in the Brexit negotiations and whatever deal we end up with", he added.

"On the softer side some of the business surveys have come off".

'Retail sales have been a bit softer - we are all aware of the squeeze that is going on in the high street.

"We will sit down calmly and look at it all in the round".

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Mr Carney also emphasised the impact of uncertainty surrounding the UK's future trading relationship with the European Union, saying it had "prevented what would otherwise have been a surge in investment in this economy".

Saunders was one of two members of the MPC to vote for a hike in rates in March, from 0.5% to 0.75%, in order to curb growing inflation triggered by the collapse in the Brexit hit pound.

While Carney still suggests a rate hike from BoE is "likely" this year, he indicated that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) may not be targeting a hike next month as many economists had forecast.

If these projections prove inaccurate then the pound could see a late-week rise against the USA dollar. "Productivity is not increasing, which will limit the rate at which people's wages can pick up".

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However, signs of a soft first-quarter economic performance were of "questionable" importance, given the role of bad weather and upward revisions to first-quarter growth in past years.