Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey indicated on Thursday that the financial markets might be accurate in anticipating future rate cuts. While he refrained from committing to a specific timeline for rate adjustments, Bailey expressed a lack of objection to the market consensus during an interview with CNBC.
While addressing CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick, Bailey emphasized that he wouldn’t provide a definitive view on the number and timing of rate cuts. However, he acknowledged that the market’s perspective aligns with his own, stating, “I’m not going to give a view on how many cuts there’ll be and when they will be. But I think that view that the market is taking is not one I object to.”
Following the recent decision by the central bank to maintain interest rates at 5.25%, investors priced in expectations of four rate cuts by the end of the year. The Monetary Policy Committee’s 6-3 split vote reflected a divergence of opinions among its members, with some indicating a preference for a 25 basis point hike and others advocating for a quarter-point cut. This marked the first instance since 2008 of the committee being split in both directions and the first time since 2020 that a BOE policymaker voted for a reduction in borrowing costs.
U.K. headline inflation unexpectedly rose to an annual 4% in December, driven by increases in alcohol and tobacco prices. The core consumer price index remained steady at 5.1%, although it has been gradually moving towards the bank’s 2% target.
Bailey declined to predict the exact number of future rate cuts but suggested that the bank was on a trajectory towards lowering rates. He emphasized the shift in the policy debate from determining the tightness of policy and the height of rates to understanding how long the current stance needs to be maintained for sustained inflation.
“The way I read the market, I think the market is of the same frame of mind as well. The market has to, of course, reach a view on when they think cuts are going to happen,” Bailey stated. While he refrained from committing to specific details, he expressed optimism about reaching a point where the bank can provide a conclusive answer to the question of rate adjustments.