Bank of England forecasts lower growth and high inflation

In his opening remarks at the press conference to launch the report, Mervyn King, the Bank’s Governor, highlighted how these uncertainties mean that inflation could turn out higher than forecast (for example if commodity prices continue to increase at a rapid pace or if inflation expectations rise) or lower than forecast (if wage increases remain low and import price inflation fades).

The Bank of England’s latest Inflation Report, published today, forecasts slower real GDP growth in 2011, with inflation remaining above its 2 per cent target throughout the year – a disappointing combination for the second full year of economic recovery. However, as the report stresses, the outlook is particularly uncertain.

In his opening remarks at the press conference to launch the report, Mervyn King, the Bank’s Governor, highlighted how these uncertainties mean that inflation could turn out higher than forecast (for example if commodity prices continue to increase at a rapid pace or if inflation expectations rise) or lower than forecast (if wage increases remain low and import price inflation fades).

These uncertainties are reflected in growing disagreement among members of the Monetary Policy Committee. Although the majority continue to vote for no change in interest rates or in the scale of quantitative easing (QE), one member – Andrew Sentance – thinks it is time to start increasing interest rates, while another – Adam Posen – is arguing for an increase in the scale of QE.

Until the publication of figures showing the economy grew by a much faster than expected 0.8 per cent in the third quarter, it seemed that Posen might win the argument and a majority on the MPC would move in favour of an increase in QE. But strong growth seemed to have taken more QE off the agenda for a time.

The GDP numbers, however, only tell us what happened in the past. When framing monetary policy, the MPC are far more concerned with what is to come. Monetary policy is set with a view to where inflation will be in roughly two years’ time.

The central projection in the Bank’s inflation forecast, based on no change in interest rates or quantitative easing, shows it falling below its target rate of 2 per cent in 2012 and declining further as the year progresses. This could be used to justify more QE in order to bring inflation back up to target.

But not yet. For now, a majority of the MPC are likely to continue to believe that the uncertainties are so great that doing nothing is the best course of (in)action.

13 Responses to “Bank of England forecasts lower growth and high inflation”

  1. Andy S

    RT @leftfootfwd: Bank of England forecasts lower growth and high inflation: //bit.ly/bl2SRq reports @ippr's Tony Dolphin

  2. Duncan Weldon

    RT @leftfootfwd: Bank of England forecasts lower growth and high inflation: //bit.ly/bl2SRq reports @ippr's Tony Dolphin

  3. Fiona

    RT @leftfootfwd: Bank of England forecasts lower growth and high inflation: //bit.ly/bl2SRq reports @ippr's Tony Dolphin

  4. Families Against National Debt

    I urge everyone reading this to read the Inflation Report, look at the IMF data and this week’s Reuters poll of economists, (links on our blog). They all expect a dip in the pace of growth at the start of 2011 followed by an acceleration through the rest of next year and 2012. As the BoE said today: “The Committee’s best collective judgement is that GDP growth is a little more likely to be above its historical average than below it for much of the forecast period.” To describe that as lower growth is spin. To fail to report the other optimistic reports is also spin.

  5. No double-dip recession says Bank of England | The Trillion Pound Challenge

    […] does the Labour-supporting Left Foot Forward blog describe this? – “lower growth”. Lower than what? Lower than the recession we’ve […]

  6. Tony

    Families against national debt
    Real GDP grew by 2.4% in the first three quarters of 2010 and probably by around 2.8% for the year to 2010Q4. Its long-run average growth rate is 2.5%. The Bank reports the average of other forecasters’ central projections as being 1.8% for 2011Q4, 2.3% for 2012Q4 and 2.5% for 2013Q4 (p49 of the Inflation Report). That is three years of lower growth than in 2010 and two out of three below the long-run average.

  7. Anon E Mouse

    Left Foot Forward needs to start vetting what it publishes. Anyone who can spin King’s statements as anything but good news runs our country down and does the left a diservice.

    Stop this deceitful drivel and publish the truth and be damned. Or not.

  8. Howard Reed

    I think Tony hits the nail on the head with this article. Despite the positive spin in most of the media outlets, the growth prognosis from the Bank – and from other forecasters – is poor in the short-to-medium term.

  9. runningpunk

    RT @leftfootfwd: Bank of England forecasts lower growth and high inflation: //bit.ly/bl2SRq reports @ippr's Tony Dolphin

  10. Ell Aitch

    Cheers Cameron RT @leftfootfwd: Bank of England forecasts lower growth and high inflation: //bit.ly/bl2SRq reports @ippr's Tony Dolphin

  11. digby

    RT @leftfootfwd: Bank of England forecasts lower growth and high inflation: //bit.ly/bl2SRq reports @ippr's Tony Dolphin

  12. Wendy Maddox

    RT @leftfootfwd: Bank of England forecasts lower growth and high inflation //bit.ly/aI4L48

  13. Staffordshire UNISON

    RT @MsWigsy: RT @leftfootfwd: Bank of England forecasts lower growth and high inflation //bit.ly/aI4L48

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