Bank Of England Hikes QE By £50 Billion As Expected, As China Cuts Benchmark Rate In Surprising Move

While everyone was expecting the BOE to return back to QEasing with a £50 Billion increase in its asset purchase program(me), to a total of £375 billion, which is what just happened, the bigger news came 1 second before the BOE announcement, with China declaring it has cut benchmark interest rates as once again the fate of the whole world is in the hands of small groups of academics, promising each other bottles of Bollinger if they can only get the S&P500 over 1,400. In other words, once again small groups of people around the world sat down and conspired (perfectly legally) to manipulate global interest rates. No hearings are scheduled.

From the BOE:

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee today voted to maintain the official Bank Rate paid on commercial bank reserves at 0.5%.  The Committee also voted to increase the size of its asset purchase programme, financed by the issuance of central bank reserves, by £50 billion to a total of £375 billion.


UK output has barely grown for a year and a half and is estimated to have fallen in both of the past two quarters.  The pace of expansion in most of the United Kingdom’s main export markets also appears to have slowed.  Business indicators point to a continuation of that weakness in the near term, both at home and abroad.  In spite of the progress made at the latest European Council, concerns remain about the indebtedness and competitiveness of several euro-area economies, and that is weighing on confidence here.  The correspondingly weaker outlook for UK output growth means that the margin of economic slack is likely to be greater and more persistent.


CPI inflation fell to 2.8% in May and is likely to edge down further in the near term.  Commodity prices have fallen, which should help to moderate external price pressures.  And pay growth remains subdued. Given the continuing drag from economic slack, that should ensure inflation continues to ease into the medium term. 


At its meeting today, the Committee agreed that the Funding for Lending Scheme, which would be launched shortly, was a welcome initiative.  It also noted recent and prospective actions to ease liquidity constraints within the banking system.  Taken together with reduced pressure on household real incomes, on the back of lower commodity prices, and the continued stimulus from past monetary policy actions, that should sustain a gradual strengthening of output growth.


But against the background of continuing tight credit conditions and fiscal consolidation, the increased drag from the heightened tensions within the euro area meant that, without additional monetary stimulus, it was more likely than not that inflation would undershoot the target in the medium term.  The Committee therefore voted to increase the size of its programme of asset purchases, financed by the issuance of central bank reserves, by £50 billion to a total of £375 billion.  The Committee also voted to maintain Bank Rate at 0.5%. The Committee expects the announced programme of asset purchases to take four months to complete.  The scale of the programme will be kept under review.


The minutes of the meeting will be published at 9.30am on Wednesday 18 July.

And from the PBOC:

The People's Bank of China decided to cut financial institutions RMB benchmark deposit and lending interest rates since July 6, 2012. One-year benchmark deposit rate cut of 0.25 percentage points, year benchmark lending interest rate cut by 0.31 percentage points; other deposit and lending interest rates and individual housing provident fund deposit and lending rates be adjusted accordingly.


Since the same day, the lower limit of the floating range of lending rates of financial institutions was adjusted to 0.7 times the benchmark interest rate. Individual housing loans interest rate floating range should not be adjusted, financial institutions should continue to strictly enforce the differentiation of the housing credit policy, to continue to curb speculative investment buyers. (End)