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Interest rates: Bank of England's Huw Pill sees further hikes in coming months

·Finance Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·3-min read
A man talks on his mobile phone as he walks past the Bank of England, in the financial district known as The City, in London, Thursday, June 16, 2022. The Bank of England raised interest rates by a quarter-percentage point Thursday, shrugging off pressure for a bolder move to combat price increases that have pushed inflation to a 40-year high. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
The Bank of England will need to raise interest rates further in the near future to tackle surging inflation, chief economist Huw Pill said. Photo: Alberto Pezzali/AP

The Bank of England’s chief economist has warned markets to expect further interest rate hikes in the coming months to rein in record high inflation.

"We will do what we need to do to get inflation back to target. And at least in my view, that will require further tightening of monetary policy over the coming months,",” BoE’s chief economist Huw Pill said during a conference organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

He warned there was a risk of inflation developing a "self-sustaining momentum" and that policy makers should lean against the second-round effects.

Read more: Bank of England raises UK interest rates to 13-year high of 1.25%

Pill reiterated that the Bank was ready to act "more aggressively" if needed.

"We see ourselves as steering a narrow path between persistent inflation pressure and recession,” he added.

Pill said policy makers would sacrifice growth in order to bring down inflation, saying there's a risk price rises will develop a "self-sustaining momentum". He added that the Bank's tools were "blunt instruments" that can bring inflation back to target but can't solve other problems.

“Monetary policy is not a panacea. Monetary policy is not an instrument that allows you to achieve lots and lots of different things at short term: stabilise the exchange rate, fine-tune developments in employment or activity," he said.

The central bank hiked its key rate to 1.25% last week and said it was ready to act "forcefully" if needed to stamp out dangers posed by inflation.

Six out of nine Monetary Policy Committee members voted for a 0.25 basis point hike leading to a fifth consecutive raise.

Three members of the Monetary Policy Committee – Jonathan Haskel, Catherine Mann and Michael Saunders – voted to raise interest rates to 1.5%, which would have been the biggest rise since 1995.

"Faster policy tightening now would help to bring inflation back to the target sustainably in the medium term, and reduce the risks of a more extended and costly tightening cycle later," they said.

But six members – Andrew Bailey, Ben Broadbent, Jon Cunliffe, Huw Pill, Dave Ramsden and Silvana Tenreyro – voted in favour of a smaller, quarter-point rise to 1.25%.

UK inflation jumped to a 40-year high of 9% in the year to April as food and energy prices surged, and the country faces a major cost of living crisis.

Read more: Bank of England needs to follow the Fed on rates hike to boost pound, says MPC member

It is on course to peak over 11% in October, according to the Bank’s revised forecasts published on Thursday.

Earlier this week, MPC member Catherine Mann warned the pound could come under pressure in the near term if Threadneedle Street falls behind the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank in lifting rates.

She also argued UK inflation was likely to prove stronger than thought due to government support packages along with “strong employment, wide-spread bonuses as well as robust wage growth, strong housing values” and accumulated savings over the pandemic.

Watch: How does inflation affect interest rates?

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