Central Banks

Carney’s first anniversary: The scorecard

BoE's Carney: Rockstar to unreliable boyfriend
Key Points

The red carpet rolled out for Mark Carney's arrival in London may now look a little worn around the edges. His first year as Governor of the Bank of England saw him called everything from "rock star" to "unreliable boyfriend."

Leaving aside that rock stars are not famed for their reliability as boyfriends, this merely suggests that, like any official feted as he was, he has simply proven to be human, and not quite the vision of central banking perfection the government was eager to sell him as.

"He came in with flying colors, obviously made up to be way more than he realistically could be, but he has flip-flopped. He was way too dovish…communication has not been good," Erik Nielsen, global chief economist at UniCredit, told CNBC.

Here's a quick look at how Carney has performed on his first year

What Carney did right

The overall economy

U.K. growth and employment figures are all better than expected. Some of this is thanks to the policies put in place by Carney's less exciting predecessor, Mervyn King, and, as Nielsen points out, to the rowing back of some austerity measures by the government. Yes, there's still plenty of room for improvement, with economists warning about slack in the labor market in particular, but still, the economy looks to be in a brighter place overall.

Housing market

Swift identification of the potential inflation of a bubble in London and the South-East means that the Bank now has greater tools to deal with the potential consequences.

Composition of the Monetary Policy Committee

After Carney's various appointees join, the MPC membership will have a larger female composition, and feature more international economists, than ever before. Of course, that will not matter if they turn out to be yes-men or women.

Where he could do better

Forward guidance

The flagship forward guidance policy seems to have melted away in the face of better-than-expected unemployment data – itself a hardly rare example of economists' predictions not always coming true.

Speaking out ahead of MPC

The furore around Carney's Mansion House speech, where he appeared to signal that interest rates would rise earlier than the market thought, sent sterling soaring above $1.70 and rattled the markets. It later turned out he could have waited for the same thing to be expressed, less alarmingly, as part of MPC minutes released days later.

Wage growth

As Carney has admitted, it has surprised him how stubbornly low wage growth has remained. The changing dynamics of the U.K. labor market, with more "zero-hour" contracts and flexible working – and consequently more people who are not working as many hours as they would like, if you look at the recent underemployment statistics, may be to blame.

- By CNBC's Catherine Boyle