According to a Bloomberg survey, majority of economists expected BoE to vote 9-0 to keep interest rate unchanged at 0.50% later this week on Thursday. And, 54% of economists expected BoE to hike interest rate in May. That’s a slight adjustment from 51% at prior survey. However, the data was taken as of March 19. And it’s unsure how much regarding the Brexit transition deal was taken into consideration. And that could only be reflected in the next survey.
The BoE rate decision this Thursday becomes lively as the transition deal is done. UK CPI data to be released today will be the first key factor. Headline CPI is expected to slow from 3.0% yoy to 2.8% yoy in February. Core CPI is expected to slow from 2.7% yoy to 2.5% yoy.
On the one hand, the deal should give BoE policymakers some comfort to restart lifting interest rate from the current ultra low level at 0.50%. On the other hand, any upside surprise in today’s inflation data would indeed give some pressure for BoE to act again.
And for the meeting, ahead, while BoE is still expected to stand pat, the statement could turn more relaxed and optimistic given that the Brexit picture is slightly clearer. And more importantly hawks like Ian McCafferty and Michael Saunders might come back to vote for rate hike.