- The Bank of England (BoE) kept its monetary policy unchanged, with a 6-3 vote,and changed its QE guidance saying it will not reduce QE stock before the keyinterest rate reaches 1.5%.
- We stick to our call for one hike in H2 18 and one in 2019, with the next hike likelyto be in August, but stress that the timing remains data dependent.
- We expect EUR/GBP to continue trading within a range of 0.8650-0.8850 incoming months, targeting 0.8800 in 1M and 0.8650 in 3M.
Hawkish BoE keeps August hike alive
As expected, the BoE kept its monetary policy unchanged at today’s MPC meeting. The vote to keep the interest rate unchanged was 6-3, in contrast to the consensus expectation of a 7-2 vote (the vote was 7-2 in May), as BoE Chief Economist Andy Haldane shifted to the hike camp and called for a 25bp rate increase this time. The split vote combined with the BoE’s relatively confident view that the dip in activity in Q1 was temporary, indicates that a hike of the Bank Rate in August is still an option.
In addition, the BoE made a significant change to its QE guidance and now says it will not consider reducing the stock of debt securities purchased under the QE programme until the key interest rate reaches 1.5% (previously 2.0%). The BoE stressed that reductions would happen at a gradual and predictable pace.
We stick to our call for one hike in H2 18 and one in 2019, with the next hike likely to be in August, but stress that the timing remains data dependent.
FX outlook: EUR/GBP range for now but lower eventually
The GBP appreciated and Gilt yields rose across the curve on the hawkish signals from the Bank of England. The market is now pricing in above 65% probability of a rate hike in August (17bp priced) compared with around 45% probability prior to the announcement, while a November hike is now almost fully priced in. Prior to the announcement, the next rate hike was priced to arrive in February 2019.
Given the hawkish signals from the BoE, we expect relative interest rates largely to mitigate the EUR/GBP upside risks stemming from Brexit uncertainty, especially as it is likely the big debate Brexit clashes are postponed to the October EU summit. Near term, a break below 0.8650 would, in our view, require a more pronounced repricing of the BoE’s future rate path, which we do not expect. Hence, we expect EUR/GBP to continue to trade within a range of 0.8650-0.8850 in coming months, targeting 0.8800 in 1M and 0.8650 in 3M.
Longer term, we still expect EUR/GBP eventually to trade lower, driven by Brexit clarifications and fundamental valuations. The turn in capital flows and FDI flows back into the UK, as indicated in the latest balance of payments data, suggest that a key headwind to GBP seen in Brexit is reversing, supporting the case for additional GBP appreciation over the medium term. We target EUR/GBP at 0.84 in 6M and 0.83 in 12M.