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Friday September 15, 2017 - 16:58:01 GMT
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Bank Of England Strikes A Blow Against Perpetual Quantitative Ease

John M. Bland, MBA

Quantitative Ease (QE) Everywhere In this era of endless Quantitative Ease (QE), the focus always is on the major central banks. The hope for many investors is that this period of uncontrolled money printing of money will die a natural death, but it seems that something new is always standing in the way. Many yearn for a return to a “normalized” monetary policy and fully functioning money markets in the major economies, but it seems that something new is always standing in the way. The latest concern is that the Fed might feel the need to postpone its plan to start to reduce the excess government paper on its balance sheet until it gets a clearer view of the impact of the two devastating hurricanes within a single month in heavily populated areas (Houston Texas and the State of Florida).

Bank Of England Hawkish Surprise . As expected, the Bank of England announced that it had decided to leave its Bank Rate (0.25%) and other policy items unchanged. The vote was 7-2 in favor of no changes with the two favoring an immediate increase on the Bank Rate to 0.50%. This was as expected, but the markets got a shock when the policy statement presented a decidedly hawkish bias. It stated that “some withdrawal of stimulus was likely to be appropriate over the coming months”. Furthermore, Moreover, the BOE's Carney indicated that rates might need to be tightened by more over the forecast period (3yrs) than the markets have been expecting. We saw a forecast late Wednesday from a major London money center bank that no rate increases were likely before late 2019! Should this be taken as a failure to communicate by the Bank of England?

Analysts cited recent positive developments in the labor markets as a key reason for the policy about-turn. August data saw the unemployment rate decline from 4.40% to 4.30%. The BOE equilibrium level for unemployment is 4.50%. Many feel that employment growth is likely to remain buoyant over the coming months. The Fed and Bank of England both focus on the amount of “slack” in the economy. Some feel  that a faster absorption of slack was evident in the modestly upgraded assessment of the inflation outlook. The post-Brexit vote major depreciation of the pound could also be a source of rising prices. To comfort the markets, all MPC members agreed that any increase in bank rate would be gradual and limited.

Implications Beyond The U.K. The major central banks, Fed, ECB, Bank of England, BOJ and others) have been keeping close tabs on one another recently. While policies are not formally coordinated, what one does can influence the policy decisions of the others. However, in the end each acts in what it perceives to be the best interest of its own constituents. The Bank of England rate hike signal could give the Fed the courage it needs to take the next normalization steps. That in turn might give the ECB a nudge, and so on. Fed Funds futures odds for a December 25bp rate hike are back at 50% from around 20% a few weeks ago.

Amazing Trader EVENT RISK Calendar:

Mon 18 Sep
09:00 EZ- Final HICP
Tue 19 Sep
09:00 DE- ZEW Survey
12:30 US- Housing Starts & Permits
Wed 20 Sep
08:30 GB- Retail Sales
14:00 US- Existing Homes Sales
14:30 US- EIA Crude
18:30 US- Fed Decision
Thu 21 Sep
03:00 JP- BOJ Decision
12:30 US- Weekly Jobless
Fri 22 Sep
All Day Flash PMIs
12:30 CA- Retail Sales and CPI
Sun 25 Sep
All Day German Elections

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AA: Major, A: High, B: Medium

Mon 27 May 2019
AAGB/US- Holiday
Tue 28 May 2019
A 14:00 US- Consumer Confidence
C 13:00 US- Case-Shiller
Wed 29 May 2019
A 08:55 DE- Employment
AA 18:00 US- BOC Decision
A 18:30 US- EIA Crude
Thu 30 Mar 2019
AAEZ/CH- Holiday
A 12:30 US- Weekly Jobless
Fri 31 Mar 2019
AA 10:00 EZ- Flash HICP
A 12:30 US- Personal Income, Spending, Deflator
AA 14:00 US- Final Univ of Michigan

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