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Investors brace for a BoE rate cut next week

Financial markets are pricing in a 78 percent chance of an interest rate cut from the Bank of England next week, according to Hargreaves Lansdown.

The U.K.-based investment providing platform said in a research note that earlier August had looked more likely but with economic data deteriorating and markets still nervous, there is a bigger chance that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will take action immediately.

"Since the referendum Mark Carney has shown he's very much on the front foot trying to deal with the economic implications of Brexit," Ben Brettell, senior economist at Hargreaves Lansdown said in a note.

"Last week he (Mark Carney) expressed confidence the U.K. economy would prove resilient enough to deal with the challenge, but also said that the Bank's forecast of slowing growth in the event of a vote to leave the European Union had now become its central case, and that he believed rates would have to be cut over the summer."


Bank of England Governor Mark Carney
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Bank of England Governor Mark Carney

Some analysts have praised Carney for trying to calm the markets by adopting a clear communication strategy ever since the U.K. voted to leave the EU. On a number of occasions, the central banker has conveyed to the markets that the current market conditions are very different from 2007.

While a rate cut next week remains high on the cards for financial market analysts, some analysts have said the BoE may not cut rates until August. "With politics in such flux, the BoE has stepped into the policy void with further post-Brexit announcements," Investec Economics said in a research note.

"Next Thursday (14 July), the MPC will meet for its first post-Brexit policy decision. Our call is for the Committee to cut Bank rate (by 25bps) at its August meeting, alongside the publication of fresh forecasts. But we would not rule out a rate cut, or some other policy action, next Thursday.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Carney announced a cut to the counter cyclical capital buffer rate for U.K. banks with immediate effect to 0 percent from 0.5 percent. This will reduce regulatory capital buffers by £5.7 billion, thus raising banks' capacity to lend to households and businesses by up to £150 billion.


The report released by the BoE emphasized that the bank is monitoring commercial real estate, reduced investor appetite for U.K. assets, buy-to-let and fragile market liquidity. The report also tried to calm the markets by saying that the BoE is ready to take action to ensure capital and liquidity buffers can be drawn on to support lending.

The U.K.'s decision to leave the EU sent shockwaves across financial markets, which saw a massive sell-off in the days after June 23 leading to $3 trillion worth of capital being wiped off the market. Currency volatility was seen at its highest with dramatic moves in sterling from $1.50 to a 31-year low of $1.32. Sterling continues to remain under pressure, still trading below $1.30.

While the markets may be trying to slowly claw back into positive territory, the banking sector in both the U.K. and Europe continues to be dragged down. The Stoxx 600 Bank sector is down nearly 21 percent since the day the referendum results were announced. In order to deal with this, the BoE Governor announced that the central bank was ready to provide £250 billion of additional funds to support financial markets.

"Major U.K. banks now hold £600 billion of high quality liquid assets or around four times the amount before global financial crisis. In addition, eligible counter parties have pre-positioned collateral with the Bank of England and this creates capacity to access £250 billion of funds through our normal facilities," Carney said during the press conference on Tuesday.


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