Bank of England's Forbes says rates should rise soon if growth and inflation stay strong

Bank of England
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Bank of England

The Bank of England should raise interest rates soon if British economic growth remains solid and inflation continues to accelerate, rate-setter Kristin Forbes said in remarks published on Tuesday.

Forbes, an American academic and external member of the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), said she was beginning to grow uncomfortable with the BoE's policy stance.

Her comments shed light on the partial split among MPC members mentioned in last week's policy decision, which overall suggested the BoE was in little rush to raise interest rates.

Forbes said the latest data did not point to a sharp deterioration in the economy in the next couple of months, while there were also signs that inflation was starting to pick up more than expected.

"In my view, if the economy remains solid and the pick up in the nominal data continues, this could soon suggest an increase in Bank Rate," Forbes said in a speech to be delivered on Wednesday in Leeds, northern England.

While Bank of England Governor Mark Carney's warned last week that there would be "twists and turns" as Britain leaves the European Union, Forbes said monetary policy should not stay on hold simply due to heightened uncertainty.

"As a result, I believe that the MPC should be nimble and willing to quickly adjust the appropriate path for monetary policy in either direction as needed throughout this period - even if it means reversing recent adjustments to Bank Rate," Forbes said.

The Bank of England cut rates to a record low 0.25 percent in August.

She added that it was possible downside risks to Britain's economic outlook could re-emerge, and that it could deteriorate faster than expected.

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