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Bank of England Announces New Easing Measures

November 5, 2020 By Mircea Vasiu

The Bank of England further eased the monetary policy today. It delivered its statement earlier than expected but did not surprise markets. 

For a while now, the Bank of England suggested that it may act in November. Using all the communication channels at hand, it signaled further Quantitative Easing (QE), and it delivered. After all, the economic data, the COVID-19 impact, and the new lockdown that started today will take their toll on the U.K. economy.

BOE New Easing Measures and the British Pound

Today’s Bank of England’s decision did bring something new, despite the telegraphed messages it sent over the past several weeks. First, it came out a few hours earlier than anticipated. Second, it delivered a bigger QE increase than expected. The market’s expectations were for a £100 billion increase, and the BOE delivered £150 billion.

The arguments for more easing are easy to understand. COVID-19 hits jobs, spending, and income and inflation fell below the target.

However, the bigger than expected QE package did not affect the British Pound. Or, more precisely, it had a different effect on the GBP pairs.

On the one hand, the GBPUSD is up over a hundred pips points today. It mainly trades higher on the back of a weak USD, and the BOE decision was not able to change that course. Also, it tells much about the degree the QE increase was already priced in.

On the other hand, the EURGBP cross rose to 0.9068. While showing GBP weakness, the strength comes mainly from the Euro strength seen all over the FX dashboard.

An interesting aspect is that the Bank of England did signal negative rates to come. The thing is that Brexit terms remain unknown, and the BOE most likely keeps negative rates for the next year in case there is no trade agreement between the two parties.

Despite the new easing measures, the Bank of England’s Governor Bailey insisted that there is no double-dip recession in the United Kingdom. Also, he argued that the increase in the QE would bring inflation close to the 2% target within the next two years.

Of course, this is the plan. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Brexit divorce terms remain the big unknowns for the Bank of England and the future path of monetary policy.