Bank of England

Tougher terms on credit card lending

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PA Media

The Bank of England's quarterly report on credit conditions has found lenders reporting that demand for mortgages "increased significantly" in the second quarter but that demand for remortgaging decreased.

Demand for unsecured lending fell because of a fall in demand for credit card borrowing. Lenders expect this to increased in the third quarter.

However, there are signs that lenders are imposing tougher terms.

The Bank found that the length of interest-free periods for balance transfers "decreased significantly" in the second quarter and that this was expected to continue in the third quarter.

A sobering thought...

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The scenario that the OBR uses in its Fiscal Risks Report to stress test the UK economy's response to a no-deal Brexit - which could lead to a recession next year - is not the worst one, such as the conditions envisioned by the Bank of England which it said could lead to the economy shrinking by 8%.

The OBR says: "The stress test is by no means a worst-case scenario under a no-deal, no-transition Brexit.

"Neither the cyclical downturn nor the medium-term loss of potential output are as large as those considered in the Bank of England’s disruptive and disorderly Brexit scenarios that were published last year.

"Most important from the perspective of fiscal sustainability would be if lower trade intensity were to generate adverse dynamic effects on productivity and potential output. These would be relevant in any Brexit scenario.”

OBR: Bank could cut rates to steady economy

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The OBR says that if the UK does leave the EU without a deal, the imposition of tariffs and a fall in the value of sterling could "raise inflation and squeeze real household incomes".

However, it says that the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee "is able to cut [the] bank rate to support demand, helping to bring output back towards potential and inflation back towards target."

MP demands fresh 'rigorous economic analysis' of Brexit

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Reuters

Nicky Morgan chair of the Treasury Committee, has written to Sir Tom Scholar, permanent secretary of the Treasury, and Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, to request "up-to-date and rigorous analysis" of the economic impacts of the current key scenarios for the UK’s future economic relationship with the EU.

She said the last analysis produced at the Committee's request "will be almost a year old on the 31 October Brexit deadline.

“As the committee requested prior to the first meaningful vote, we have asked HM Treasury and the Bank of England to, where necessary, provide updated analysis of the economic impacts of the key scenarios for the UK’s future economic relationship with the EU.

“This will ensure that parliament is as informed as possible as it considers key decisions about the future of our country".

No case for a UK interest rate cut

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Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, says there is no case for an interest rate cut by the Bank of England after the June inflation data.

June inflation was 2% - bang in line with the Bank of England's target.

Fuel and energy prices fell while food prices rose, he said.

"Looking ahead, inflation likely will fall a bit below the 2% target in the second half of the year as energy's contribution continues to decline," he said.

There is "no case for cutting bank rate based on the outlook for inflation".

Pessimism may be 'a little extreme'

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The latest inflation data - while in line with the Bank of England's target of 2% - is unlikely to have much bearing on the Monetary Policy Committee, according to David Cheetham, chief market analyst at XTB Online Trading.

He describes it as "still very much of secondary importance given that Brexit uncertainty continues to loom large".

But Mr Cheetham reckons that prospect of a no deal Brexit may have been overdone and that the pound could recover.

"With so much pessimism around at present there is a feeling that we may be getting a little extreme on the negative side and it would not be at all surprising if there’s a bounce in the not too distant future.

"A kind of sell-the-rumour-buy-the-fact move may well play out, possibly coinciding with the new PM moving into Number 10."

Inflation is 'decent news' for consumers

EY Item Club chief economic adviser Howard Archer tweets:

Carney in the running for IMF top job?

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Christine Lagarde and Mark Carney
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Christine Lagarde and Mark Carney

Christine Lagarde has now resigned as head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - as widely expected.

"The debate's going to be now who is going to replace her at the IMF," says Laura Foll, fund manager at Janus Henderson Investors. "And one of the names being talked about is possibly Mark Carney."

She says: "Traditionally, the IMF has been headed always by a European."

Mr Carney is Canadian but Ms Foll points out that the Bank of England Governor "does have British and Irish passports which sort of puts him forward for the job effectively but he's just one of a long list of people speculating who it could be."

What now for the Bank of England?

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Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, reckons the Bank of England will not be moved to alter interest rates following the new employment and wage data.

"The labour market is emitting enough upward inflation pressure to dissuade the [Bank of England's] Monetary Policy Committee from cutting interest rates over the coming months."

He notes: "The MPC is constrained by the medium-term outlook for relatively high inflation; only in the event of a no-deal Brexit or a sustained increase in the unemployment above 4% would the committee sign off fresh stimulus."