Haldane expects to vote for rate rise this year

Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane says he may vote for a rate rise in the second half of the year.

He said leaving a rate hike until too late risks steeper rate rises in the future.

Sterling briefly surged above $1.27 after his comment, after having dipped below $1.26 prior to Wednesday's Queen's Speech.

Mr Haldane's comments were more hawkish than those made by Governor Mark Carney.

On Tuesday Mr Carney said "now is not yet the time to begin" rate rises.

But, in a speech in Bradford, Mr Haldane said: "Provided the data are still on track, I do think that beginning the process of withdrawing some of the incremental stimulus provided last August would be prudent moving into the second half of the year."

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In August last year the Bank cut interest rates to 0.25% after signs of a slowdown following the Brexit vote.

But Mr Haldane said the risk of moving too late with a rate hike had grown, after UK economic growth and inflation had proven more resilient than expected.

'Dust cloud'

However, Mr Haldane said he had not voted for a rate rise in June due to there being "few signs of higher wage growth" and the "chance of a sharper than expected slowing in the economy".

Both are reasons for monetary policy "not to rush its fences," he said, adding that the general election "has thrown up a dust-cloud of uncertainty".

"It is unclear what twists and turns lie ahead, with potentially important implications for asset prices and, at least potentially, confidence among businesses and consumers.

"I do not think adding a twist or a turn from monetary policy would, in this environment, be especially helpful in building confidence, at least until the dust-cloud has started to settle," he said.

Mr Haldane said that longer-term factors for weak wage growth included a decrease in unionisation and an increase in self-employment, flexible and part-time working, and zero-hours contracts.

He said technology and globalisation "may have weakened the bargaining power of workers".

He added that "the impact of the financial crisis on slack in the labour market" was also a factor


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