BoE Blinks First As Central Banks Start to Tighten Monetary Policy

- BoE surprises market with 15bp rate hike
- MPC voted 8-1 to raise rates to 0.25% from historic low
- Omicron risks to both upside and downside forecasts
- Variant’s impact on mid-term inflation unclear says bank
- Further tightening priced in for next year

 


By Harry Daniels
LiveSquawk News
@HarryDaniels71



16 December 2021|16:15 GMT


LONDON - In a move that surprised analysts and wrongfooted markets the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee became the first major central bank to lift its bank rate and, in the process, took itself off the Christmas party invite list of many bankers.

 

The committee voted by a majority of 8-1 to raise rates by 15bps to 0.25% and return the main rate back to the March 2020 level. It also voted unanimously to maintain its GBP 895bn quantitative easing programme (which expires at the end of this month).

 

The bank’s justification was laid out via its accompanying statement, “At its November meeting, the Committee judged that, provided the incoming data, particularly on the labour market, were broadly in line with the central projections in the November Monetary Policy Report, it would be necessary over coming months to increase bank rate in order to return CPI inflation sustainably to the 2% target. Recent economic developments suggest that these conditions have been met.”

 

In the immediate aftermath of the announcement markets began to price in nearly 15bps of rate hikes in February, and as much as 88bps by the end of 2022.

 

HSBC’s Elizabeth Martins said, “The rate rise announced today is a surprise to the market and to the majority of economists (including ourselves), who had expected that the uncertainty around the Omicron variant would have been enough to keep them hold - at least for another seven weeks until the February meeting.” The statement acknowledged the new more virulent strain, noting that the Omicron variant posed downside risks to activity in early 2022, although the level of overall effect on demand and supply, and hence on medium-term global inflationary pressures, was unclear.

 

James Smith, Developed Markets economist at ING said, “In practice, the decision to hike rates soon was not in question anyway – but we had assumed that policymakers would wait until February. So perhaps the biggest surprise today is how many committee members voted for the hike. The decision to delay increasing rates last month suggested there were several policymakers yet to be fully convinced of the merits of tightening right now - and if anything, uncertainty has risen since last month.”

 

Major central banks have begun to remove emergency accommodation put in place at the onset of the global pandemic last year. On Wednesday, the US Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee ramped up the tapering of bond purchases and signalled it could potentially hike rates once QE had ended (March 2022). Midday Thursday, the European Central Bank was slightly more nuanced in its messaging. It didn’t go as far as its peers, choosing rather to push “flexibility and optionality’ in its future decision making. On Thursday morning Norway’s central bank hiked its sight deposit rate by 25bps to 0.5% by then.

 

One of the few bank desks to call today’s hike said that in the end, prudence concerning inflation risks outweighed any risk management considerations with the bank acting now to tackle surging inflation, and ensure expectations remained broadly anchored in the medium term. Deutsche Bank’s Sanjay Raja said, “More emphatically, the Bank continued to highlight that the MPC's remit applied at all times, and that given the lag between changes in monetary policy and their effects on inflation, the focus for policy makers would always be on the medium term prospects for inflation, including medium-term inflation expectations.”

/*jshint esversion: 6 */ var socket; var assigned_server = 3001; var distributor_server = 3010; var publisher_channel = ''; var broadcaster_channel = ''; var remote_ip = ''; var session_info = {}; var logging_interval; var logging_interval_time = 120000; var socket_emits = 0; var session_start_time; var reconnectionDelayGrowFactor = 1.2; var reconnection_delay = 1000; var playing = false; var connected_to_assigned = false; var socket_close_timeout; self.onmessage = function (msg) { switch(msg.data.action) { case 'Reactivate': reactivate(); break; case 'ConnectDistributor': connect_to_distributor(msg); break; case 'SessionStaticInfo': session_static_info(msg); break; case 'SessionInfo': update_session_info(msg.data); break; case 'PauseLogging': clearTimeout(logging_interval); break; case 'RestartLogging': postMessage({action: 'RequestSessionStaticInfo' }); break; case 'JoinPublisherChannel': join_publisher_channel(msg.data); break; case 'JoinPlayerChannel': join_player_channel(msg.data); break; case 'CheckChannelStatus': check_channel_status(msg.data); break; case 'PlayerLogResponse': player_log_response(msg.data); break; case 'CloseSocket': close_socket(); break; } }; function reactivate() { playing = false; connect_to_assigned_server(); } function player_log_response(data) { var data_array = {}; data_array.type = 'PlayerLogResponse'; data_array.respond_to_socket_final = data.respond_to_socket_final; data_array.respond_to_socket = data.respond_to_socket; data_array.player_socket_id = data.player_socket_id; data_array.logs = data.logs; var msg_string = JSON.stringify(data_array); if (socket.readyState == 1) { socket.send(msg_string); } } function check_channel_status(data) { var data_array = {}; data_array.type = 'check_channel_status'; data_array.app_name = data.app_name; var msg_string = JSON.stringify(data_array); if (socket.readyState == 1 && connected_to_assigned) { socket.send(msg_string); } else { setTimeout(function() { check_channel_status(data); },500); } } function check_channel_status_response(data) { postMessage({ action: 'CheckChannelStatusReponse', stream_status: data.stream_status.status, onair: data.stream_status.onair, connected: data.stream_status.connected }); } function join_publisher_channel(data) { var data_array = {}; data_array.type = 'join_publisher_channel'; data_array.publisher_channel = data.publisher_channel; data_array.username = data.username; data_array.subscriber_group = data.subscriber_group; data_array.display_name = data.display_name; data_array.single_sign_on = data.single_sign_on; data_array.remote_ip = data.remote_ip; data_array.http_referrer = data.http_referrer; data_array.current_page = data.current_page; data_array.php_session_id = data.php_session_id; var msg_string = JSON.stringify(data_array); if (socket.readyState == 1) { socket.send(msg_string); } postMessage({action: 'PublisherChannelJoined' }); } function session_static_info(msg) { set_static_session_info(msg.data); start_log(); } function connect_to_distributor(msg) { publisher_channel = msg.data.publisher_channel; remote_ip = msg.data.remote_ip; socket = new WebSocket("wss://ws.livesquawk.com/ws"+distributor_server); socket.onopen = function(event) { request_server_assignment(); }; socket.onmessage = function(event) { var msg_string = event.data.toString(); var data = JSON.parse(msg_string); switch(data.type) { case 'server_assignment_response': server_assignment_response(data); break; } }; } function session_info_interval() { postMessage({action: 'RequestSessionInfo' }); logging_interval = setTimeout(session_info_interval,logging_interval_time); } function server_assignment_response(data) { assigned_server = data.selected_server; socket.close(); connect_to_assigned_server(); } function request_server_assignment() { var data_array = {}; data_array.type = 'request_server_assignment'; var msg_string = JSON.stringify(data_array); if (socket.readyState == 1) { socket.send(msg_string); } } function connect_to_assigned_server() { socket = new WebSocket("wss://ws.livesquawk.com/ws"+assigned_server); socket.onopen = function(event) { postMessage({ action: 'VisibleConsole',console_string: "Connected to server "+assigned_server }); console.log("Connected to server "+assigned_server); postMessage({ action: 'ConnectedToAssigned' }); connected_to_assigned = true; if (playing) { postMessage({ action: 'RejoinPlayerChannel' }); } }; socket.onmessage = function(event) { var msg_string = event.data.toString(); var data = JSON.parse(msg_string); if (data.type != 'server_ping') { /* console.log(data.type); */ } switch(data.type) { case 'reconnect': postMessage({ action: 'VisibleConsole',console_string: "Reconnected" }); break; case 'reload': postMessage({ action: 'Reload' }); break; case 'start_log_response': start_log_response(data); break; case 'application_refresh_start': application_refresh_start(data); break; case 'application_refresh_stop': application_refresh_stop(data); break; case 'player_log_request': case 'check_channel_status_response': check_channel_status_response(data); break; case 'PlayerLogRequest': case 'new_tweet': case 'new_latest_news': case 'delete_report': case 'add_report': case 'add_ref_doc': case 'calendar_change': case 'calendar_insert': case 'calendar_delete': case 'new_note': case 'AppStart': case 'AppStop': case 'BroadcasterStarted': case 'BroadcasterStopped': pass_straight_to_post_message(data); break; case 'output': case 'server_ping': case 'reconnect': case 'disconnect': break; } }; socket.onerror = function(event) { postMessage({ action: 'VisibleConsole',console_string: "LS Socket Error" + event.type }); console.log(event); postMessage({ action: 'LSSocketConnectionError' }); }; socket.onclose = function(event) { console.log('Socket is closed. Reconnect will be attempted in 1 second.', event.reason); socket_close_timeout = setTimeout(connect_to_assigned_server, reconnection_delay); reconnection_delay = reconnection_delay*reconnectionDelayGrowFactor; connected_to_assigned = false; }; } function close_socket() { clearTimeout(socket_close_timeout); socket_close_timeout = null; socket.onclose = function(event) {}; socket.onmessage = function(event) {}; socket.onerror = function(event) {}; socket.close(1000); console.log('Socket Closed'); } function pass_straight_to_post_message(data) { data.action = data.type; postMessage(data); } function join_player_channel(data) { var data_array = {}; data_array.type = 'join_player_channel'; data_array.player_channel = data.player_channel; data_array.remote_ip = data.remote_ip; data_array.username = data.username; data_array.app_name = data.app_name; data_array.onair_status = data.onair_status; data_array.http_referrer = data.http_referrer; data_array.current_page = data.current_page; data_array.php_session_id = data.php_session_id; var msg_string = JSON.stringify(data_array); if (socket.readyState == 1) { socket.send(msg_string); } postMessage({action: 'PlayerChannelJoined' }); playing = true; } function start_log_response(data) { session_info.session_id = data.log_record_id; session_info_interval(); } function application_refresh_start(data) { if (data.app_name == session_info.application_name) { postMessage({action: 'ApplicationRefreshStart' }); } } function application_refresh_stop(data) { if (data.app_name == session_info.application_name) { postMessage({action: 'ApplicationRefreshStop' }); } } function set_static_session_info(data) { session_info.browser_codename = data.browser_codename; session_info.browser_name = data.browser_name; session_info.user_agent = data.user_agent; session_info.browser_version = data.browser_version; session_info.cookies_enabled = data.cookies_enabled; session_info.platform = data.platform; session_info.player_version = data.player_version; session_info.stream = data.stream; session_info.connection_protocol = data.protocol; session_info.delay_target = data.delay_target; session_info.session_email = data.session_email; session_info.remote_ip = data.remote_ip; session_info.php_session_id = data.php_session_id; session_info.application_name = data.application_name; session_info.http_referrer = data.http_referrer; } function start_log() { var session_start_date = new Date(); session_start_time = session_start_date.getTime(); var months = ['Jan','Feb','Mar','Apr','May','Jun','Jul','Aug','Sep','Oct','Nov','Dec']; var session_start_date_string = session_start_date.getDate() + " " + months[session_start_date.getMonth()] + " " + session_start_date.getFullYear(); var data_array = {}; data_array.type = 'webrtc_start_log'; data_array.remote_ip = session_info.remote_ip; data_array.username = session_info.session_email; data_array.php_session_id = session_info.php_session_id; data_array.webrtc_protocol = ''; data_array.session_start_time = (session_start_time/1000).toFixed(0); data_array.stream_name = session_info.stream; data_array.session_start_date = session_start_date_string; var msg_string = JSON.stringify(data_array); if (socket.readyState == 1) { socket.send(msg_string); } } function update_session_info(data) { var data_array = {}; var msg_string = ''; var current_date = new Date(); var current_time = current_date.getTime(); session_info.protocol = data.protocol; session_info.curr_delay = (data.effective_latency / 1000).toFixed(2); session_info.session_length = current_time - session_start_time; session_info.ping_time = data.ping_time; session_info.jitter = data.jitter; session_info.packet_loss = data.packet_loss; session_info.effective_latency = data.effective_latency; session_info.mean_opinion_score = data.mean_opinion_score; session_info.restarts = data.restarts; if (socket_emits == 0) { data_array = {}; data_array.type = 'webrtc_log_data_full'; data_array.connection_protocol = session_info.protocol; data_array.threshold = 0; data_array.curr_delay = session_info.curr_delay; data_array.session_length = session_info.session_length; data_array.date = current_time; data_array.browser_codename = session_info.browser_codename; data_array.browser_name = session_info.browser_name; data_array.user_agent = session_info.user_agent; data_array.browser_version = session_info.browser_version; data_array.cookies_enabled = session_info.cookies_enabled; data_array.platform = session_info.platform; data_array.player_version = session_info.player_version; data_array.stream = session_info.stream; data_array.restarts = session_info.restarts; data_array.delay_target = 0; data_array.op_sys = ''; data_array.flash_version = ''; data_array.remote_ip = session_info.remote_ip; data_array.http_referrer = session_info.http_referrer; data_array.php_session_id = session_info.php_session_id; data_array.user_email = session_info.session_email; data_array.webrtc_protocol = session_info.protocol; data_array.ping_time = session_info.ping_time; data_array.jitter = session_info.jitter; data_array.packet_loss = session_info.packet_loss; data_array.effective_latency = session_info.effective_latency; data_array.mean_opinion_score = session_info.mean_opinion_score; data_array.session_id = session_info.session_id; msg_string = JSON.stringify(data_array); if (socket.readyState == 1) { socket.send(msg_string); } } else { data_array = {}; data_array.type = 'webrtc_log_data'; data_array.session_id = session_info.session_id; data_array.php_session_id = session_info.php_session_id; data_array.connection_protocol = session_info.protocol; data_array.restarts = session_info.restarts; data_array.threshold = 0; data_array.curr_delay = session_info.curr_delay; data_array.session_length = session_info.session_length; data_array.date = current_time; data_array.webrtc_protocol = session_info.protocol; data_array.ping_time = session_info.ping_time; data_array.jitter = session_info.jitter; data_array.packet_loss = session_info.packet_loss; data_array.effective_latency = session_info.effective_latency; data_array.mean_opinion_score = session_info.mean_opinion_score; data_array.stream = session_info.stream; msg_string = JSON.stringify(data_array); if (socket.readyState == 1) { socket.send(msg_string); } } socket_emits++; if (socket_emits == 100) { socket_emits = 0; } }