Bank of England eventually to say jobless falling faster -Reuters poll

Jonathan Cable
Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 | 2:13 PM ET

* Most economists say BoE will bring forward jobless expectation

* BoE will not bring forecast forward enough

* No change to monetary policy through 2014 at least

LONDON, Oct 30 (Reuters) - A buoyant economy will prompt the Bank of England to bring forward the time it thinks unemployment will fall to the 7 percent threshold where it says it will discuss changing monetary policy, a Reuters poll found.

The central bank's governor, Mark Carney, said in August that Bank Rate would stay at its record low of 0.5 percent at least until the jobless rate fell to 7.0 percent, something he didn't expect to happen until the third quarter of 2016.

But a raft of upbeat data in recent weeks pointing to a sustainable recovery from the deepest recession since the second world war has led the vast majority of economists - 50 of 53 polled this week - to say that view was too pessimistic.

Most of them said the Bank would revise its own expectation to before April 2016 but followed up by saying even that was too late. Instead, the unemployment rate, at 7.7 percent in August, would breach the threshold by late 2015 or sooner.

"They'll bring it forward from end-2016 to early 2016 - the economy is stronger," said Michael Saunders at Citi.

Britain's economy grew a healthy 0.8 percent last quarter, its fastest pace in more than three years, although that pace will moderate to 0.5 percent per quarter through to the end of next year, a Reuters poll earlier this month suggested.

Still, as in all recent Reuters polls no change was seen to Bank Rate until April 2015 at least and the BoE was not seen topping up the 375 billion pounds it has pumped into the money supply through its quantitative easing program, designed to stimulate growth.

None of the economists saw any change to policy when the Monetary Policy Committee meets next week and only three predict any change before the end of 2014 - and even then only a 25 basis point rise in the dying months of the year.

MPC member David Miles said on Monday a rapid rise in interest rates before unemployment had fallen meaningfully would damage Britain's economy.

"What we're going to do is not to increase interest rates ... as soon as we get a little bit of good news on the economy, such as we've had over the last six months, because I think that would be a pretty catastrophic strategy," Miles said in a BBC radio interview.


When introducing the forward guidance Carney added three knockout clauses, allowing the Bank to change policy if public inflation expectations rise significantly, if low rates threaten financial stability, or if its forecasts show inflation at 2.5 percent higher in 18 to 24 months.

However, only four of 53 economists in the poll said any of them would be triggered.

Inflation, at 2.7 percent in September, is targeted by the Bank to be at 2 percent but has held stubbornly above there since late 2009 and will not fall below the goal until at least the second half of 2015.

Indeed, with energy companies increasing gas and electricity prices 8 oercent to 11 percent it may rise higher.

"The evidence we have seen recently on inflation expectations has generally been on the upside. (But) we do not expect any of the three knockout clauses to be triggered," George Buckley at Deutsche Bank said.

(Polling by Ashrith Doddi and Anu Bararia; Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)