Bank of England set to hold rates as it seeks Brexit clarity

Bank Of England Cut Interest Rates To All Time Low

The Bank of England will make a decision on interest rates tomorrow

The Bank cut its United Kingdom growth forecasts to 1.2 per cent in 2019 - from a previous 1.7 per cent projection - citing mounting Brexit uncertainty and a global economic slowdown.

The BoE also slashed its forecast for 2020 United Kingdom growth - to 1.5 per cent from 1.7 per cent.

Alongside the dire warnings about United Kingdom growth, the central bank's nine-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted unanimously to leave rates at 0.75%.

The economy isn't ready for a no-deal, no-transition Brexit, Carney said, adding that the probability of such an outcome has increased.

"We are just 50 days away from when the United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union and the uncertainty of employers is being passed onto many workers who in turn are nervous about spending in the real economy".

The downgrades sent the pound sinking under US$1.29 (S$1.75), while the euro rebounded close to 88 pence (S$1.55).

It repeated its message that it could either cut or raise interest rates after a no-deal Brexit.

"Growth appears to have slowed at the end of 2018 and is expected to remain subdued in the near term", the Bank said in its Quarterly Inflation Report.

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Sterling has endured a rollercoaster ride this afternoon after the Bank of England slashed growth forecasts but a glimmer of hope emerged for Theresa May's Brexit deal in Brussels.

This is being driven by sharp falls in business investment, as well as a drop in consumer spending and signs of a weaker United Kingdom housing market.

In the United States, the Federal Reserve last month left its key lending rate unchanged and said it would be patient about making any further changes, in a clear signal that the central bank has heeded concerns about the economy.

The UK economy is expected to report on the manufacturing, the fourth quarter GDP and the January inflation during the upcoming week with all figures painting the same picture of the general economic slowdown. Acknowledging the huge impact of uncertainty, it ran an analysis showing that less uncertainty would lead to much stronger growth - 1.6 per cent this year and 2.2 per cent in 2020.

On the flip side, growth could slump to a potential 0.8% in 2019 should uncertainty persist and financial conditions tighten.

While other major central banks have signaled they will hold off from raising borrowing costs, the BoE kept its message that gradual and limited rate rises lie ahead for Britain as long as, in just 50 days' time, a no-deal Brexit is averted.

Rajiv Kumar, vice chairman of government think-tank NITI Aayog, said the bank should act to help spur "higher growth rates".

"Although inflation remains slightly above the 2 per cent level and real wage growth continues its current trend, the MPC looks to have remained cautious in its approach, wanting to wait until the outcome on Brexit is known before raising rates further".

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