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Bank of England's Carney sees Brexit pushing up inflation, rate rise likely

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Britain's Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, addresses journalists during a press conference to deliver the quarterly inflation report in London, August 3, 2017.

WASHINGTON - Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said Brexit is likely to push up British inflation and reiterated the central bank’s new view that interest rates are likely to rise in the coming months.

Carney, making a speech at the International Monetary Fund’s Washington headquarters on Monday, said less openness to foreign markets and workers was likely to put upward pressure on inflation and reduce productivity, he said.

“On balance, the de-integration effects of Brexit can be expected to ... be inflationary,” he said. “At present, the main question concerns the extent to which this adjustment has been brought forward.”

In comments that might draw the ire of Brexit supporters, who have previously accused Carney of being too critical of leaving the European Union, he said Britain was unlikely to immediately offset any loss of trade ties to its EU partners by striking new agreements with other countries.

Businesses would also need time to adapt to any new deals, he said.

“This makes Brexit, relative to the experience of the past half century, unique,” Carney said. “It will be, at least for a period of time, an example of de-globalization, not globalization.”

Brexit supporters have said the freedom to strike new trade deals is one of the big advantages of leaving the European Union.

Britain’s inflation rate has accelerated this year, due in large part to the fall in the value of the pound since the referendum decision in June 2016 to leave the EU.

Prices have risen nearly 3 percent - above the BoE’s 2 percent target - squeezing the spending power of many households and slowing growth in the overall economy.

RATE HIKE SIGNAL REPEATED

The BoE surprised financial markets last week when it said most of its policymakers thought it was likely that interest rates would need to rise in the coming months, if the economy and price pressures keep growing.

It was the strongest signal to date that Britain’s first rate increase in a decade is approaching, despite the uncertainties still surrounding the country’s scheduled 2019 departure from the European Union.

In his speech on Monday, Carney reiterated that message and said the years of rock-bottom interest rates appeared to be coming to an end as the world economy picked up after the global financial crisis.

“The case for a modest monetary tightening is reinforced by the possibility that global r* (equilibrium interest rates) may be rising, meaning that monetary policy has to move in order to stand still,” he said.

The pound hit its highest level against the U.S. dollar since the Brexit vote on Friday after another policymaker, Gertjan Vlieghe, who was considered the BoE’s strongest opponent of a rate hike, also said borrowing costs might rise soon.

Sterling extended its decline on Monday after Carney’s speech was published, possibly reflecting the lack of any more specific comments from Carney on when the BoE might move on rates.

The BoE’s next announcement on monetary policy is scheduled for Nov. 2.

Until last week, most economists had expected the BoE to wait until 2019 before raising rates, which would have left it on the sidelines as the Federal Reserve continues to raise borrowing costs and the European Central Bank moves toward reducing its stimulus for the euro zone economy.

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Muslim Global: Bank of England's Carney sees Brexit pushing up inflation, rate rise likely
Bank of England's Carney sees Brexit pushing up inflation, rate rise likely
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said Brexit is likely to push up British inflation and reiterated the central bank’s new view that interest rates are likely to rise in the coming months.
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