U.S. News

BoE Voted 6-3 for U.K. July Rate Hike to 5.75%


Three Bank of England policymakers opposed this month's decision to raise interest rates but were outvoted by the other six members of the Monetary Policy Committee, minutes from the July 4-5 meeting showed on Wednesday.

Deputy Governor Rachel Lomax, Chief Economist Charles Bean and David Blanchflower held their ground in calling for steady rates while Paul Tucker and Kate Barker switched sides to join Governor Mervyn King in wanting higher borrowing costs.

Financial markets had expected the 6-3 result and have already been pricing in another quarter-point rate hike to 6% this year, perhaps as soon as next month when the central bank publishes its new inflation forecasts.

The minutes showed the MPC split into three camps and leaving the door open for another hike as they all wanted to see how several hikes in a year had changed the outlook for the economy since its last major assessment in May.

"For a majority of members there was a strong case for an immediate rise in Bank Rate of 25 basis points," the minutes said.

Of that majority, one camp felt a hike was in line with the May inflation outlook but said there was no presumption that further increases would be necessary.

Another, more hawkish camp said any delay in raising borrowing costs in July would run the risk that rates would have to peak higher than otherwise needed. But that camp made no immediate judgment on the future path of rates.

The doves on the Committee said uncertainties about the impact of higher rates and high household debt on consumers pointed to a gradual approach to any tightening following a 1 percentage point hike in interest rates since August.

"The full effects of this significant tightening had yet to be felt," the minutes said, summing up the doves' view.