Carney squeezes in extra BoE forecasts in tweak to calendar

LONDON • Mark Carney will take some of the pressure off the next Bank of England (BoE) governor by keeping the spotlight on himself.

With Carney due to leave the BoE on Jan 31, 2020, next year’s first interest-rate decision and Inflation Report will be on Jan 30, according to a provisional BoE calendar. That’s despite the initial presentation of the updated forecasts taking place in February ever since the bank was granted operational independence in 1997.

The change means the next governor won’t have to present forecasts that were made before he or she starts, an advantage acknowledged within the bank. Carney will then bring to an end a tenure that’s likely to be remembered largely for the high-profile and often-controversial role he’s played in the debate over the UK’s departure from the European Union.

A more immediate concern for the governor comes tomorrow, when he answers questions from the public as part of the BoE’s online future forum. The session on the future of money will kick off at 3:30pm in London.

The schedule tweak next year means the Canadian has nine interest-rate decisions ahead of him and five Inflation Reports, starting with the next one on Feb 7. Based on his history, it can’t be ruled out that he’ll stay longer — Carney last year extended his stay at the BoE for the second time in an effort to help guide the UK through Brexit.

The unusual plan could also have implications for investors, given that interest-rate shifts often — though not always — come alongside Inflation Reports because of the economic justification the projections can provide. Markets are currently pricing in a 65% chance that the BoE’s next interest-rate hike will come at the first meeting of 2020. — Bloomberg