Inflation-fighting BoE poised to unleash big rate hike

Inflation-fighting BoE poised to unleash big rate hike

The Bank of England is expected Thursday to follow other major central banks with an aggressive interest rate hike to tackle surging inflation.

The BoE is tipped to lift its main rate by 0.50 percentage points — the biggest amount in more than a quarter of a century.

With inflation spiking globally following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank sprang large hikes last month of 0.75 and 0.50 percentage points respectively.

“After the ECB and the Fed delivered oversized hikes at their July meetings, the Bank of England is likely to feel similar pressure to up the ante at its August meeting,” said BNP Paribas economist Amarjot Sidhu in a note to clients.

The BoE, granted operational independence from the government over monetary policy in 1997, will reveal its latest rate decision at 1100 GMT on Thursday alongside its latest outlook.

That would take borrowing costs to 1.75 percent, at a level last seen in December 2008.

Inflation has also raced higher on supply-chain woes, including labor market shortages in the wake of Brexit, and strong demand for goods and services as the Covid pandemic recedes.

Yet the bank predicts UK inflation will spike to 11 percent later this year — and it was expected to lift this guidance on Thursday.

That could take the average UK household energy bill above £3,000 ($3,600) per year.

“Higher inflation for even longer is the kind of scenario that spooks central banks.”

Economists meanwhile argue that a large rate hike damages the nation’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic — and risks the prospect of recession.

“The… anticipated hike would be harmful to the economy and pile on the pain for people across the country,” said Nigel Green, deVere’s boss of financial consultants.

Until now, the BoE has not hiked its rates by more than 0.25 percentage points each time.

Liz Truss is currently ahead in the polls against fellow Conservative and former finance minister Rishi Sunak.