IoD: ‘Business leaders concerned about Bank’s hawkish tone despite rate hold’

Responding to the Bank of England’s decision to hold interest rates at 0.5%, Tej Parikh, Senior Economist at the Institute of Directors, said:

“The Bank’s ‘wait and see’ approach this month is welcome, but its hawkish tone on a near-term rate hike is concerning.

“We’re currently passing through a whirlwind of contrasting economic data, and so delaying a rate rise is a safe bet until the picture clears. The MPC risks dampening confidence with a premature rate hike, particularly while political noise continues to bring uncertainty for businesses.

“To be sure of not making any missteps the Bank will need to keep a close eye on three things – greater clarity on the underlying strength of economic activity, evidence of a sustained pick-up in wages, and a better guide on the government’s Brexit plans, which remain crucial for lifting business investment plans. Details on these factors are thin on the ground, and at the moment point to the downside.

“The MPC’s more upbeat minutes this month, however, mean the chance of a rate hike in August is a touch-and-go affair.”