Mark carney

Meet the new leaders of Project Soft Brexit: Mark Carney and Philip Hammond

As double acts go, it is probably not up there with Eric and Ernie, John and Paul, or even Liam and Noel. Even so, Mark and Phil, the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney and the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, certainly looked today as if they were working in tandem to try and steer the country towards a gentler version of Brexit than some of the harder men of that movement would prefer. Anyone listening to their speeches in the City this morning, postponed from last week in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, will have seen immediately what they were up to. Carney was at pains

Let’s stop blaming Brexit for higher inflation

No time has been lost in blaming Brexit for today’s rise in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) to 2.9 per cent. It wasn’t just those on the left, either. The head of Theresa May’s policy unit, George Freeman, tweeted this morning: ‘This is reality of the devaluation of the £ post Brexit’. While George Freeman has always been a staunch Remainer, the fact he put this out is possibly indicative of a change in attitude at Number 10 – an attempt to reach out to those in the party who continue to believe that Brexit is a mistake. Yet the longer the rise in CPI goes on the less it looks

Today’s GDP data reveals one thing: Mark Carney should have kept his cool after Brexit

Inflation is rising. Real wages are stagnant, and GDP is being revised downwards, putting us down there with the likes of Italy. If Theresa May had a script for the final fortnight of the election campaign it probably didn’t include figures like those. Today’s revision of the quarterly GDP number, down to a sluggish-looking 0.2 percent, from the initial 0.3 percent, will no doubt be seized upon by critics of the government, and by the increasingly battle-weary battalions of hardcore Remainers, as evidence that the wheels are finally coming off the economy, and the impact of a ‘hard Tory Brexit’ is finally being felt. In fact, however, it tells us

Mark Carney falls victim to a hoax

For weeks now, an email hoaxer has been trying to catch bank officials out online. After the prankster tricked Barclays boss Jes Staley, they set their sights on a new target: the governor of the Bank of England. Claiming to be Anthony Habgood, chairman of the court of the Bank of England, the hoaxer emailed Mark Carney about reports that Jane Austen would appear on the new £10 banknote, before getting into a conversation about drinking. While Carney did suggest that he was partial to Eddie George’s drinking advice (to have three martinis …before lunch), he can hold his head up high that he shut down the conversation once it took on a somewhat sexist

Britain’s borrowing binge – not Brexit – should be the big worry for the Bank of England

So, the Office of National Statistics has confirmed that the economy grew by 0.7 per cent in the last quarter of 2016, and by 1.8 per cent over the course of the year. Can we now please stop worrying about a post-Brexit recession and worry instead about an unsustainable consumer boom fed by interest rates which remain at panic levels. The bad news this morning is that the UK saving ratio – which is an estimate of the percentage of their income which households are saving – has fallen sharply from 5.3 per cent to 3.3 per cent. That takes it lower than it was a decade ago, just before

Mark Carney finally gets it: the real risk is a Brexit boom

It is possible that Mark Carney is not quite the last person to notice that the post-Brexit economy is positively booming. Jean-Claude Junker might be too busy working out new ways to ‘punish’ Britain to have paid attention to the statistics. Gina Miller is possibly working on some bizarre High Court action to keep us in the EU. There might even be a leader writer somewhere at the FT who is still worrying away about the collapse of the economy. But just about everyone else has woken up to the fact that ever since we voted to leave the EU, the British economy, far from falling off a cliff, seems

Socrates on expertise

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, raises his growth forecasts and suddenly everyone believes the ‘expert’. So is it wrong to say that people ‘have had enough of experts’? Yes, totally wrong. Expertise exists: the question is, with what scope? Socrates dissected the problem. In debates in Athens’ democratic Assembly, he pointed out, topics such as building or ship construction were taken to be the business of builders and shipwrights, and anyone who, though no expert, attempted to give advice in those areas was jeered off the platform. But when the debate moved on to deliberation about a course of action, then ‘any builder, smith, cobbler, merchant or

The Bank of England is (slowly) overcoming its Brexophobia

It has been clear for some time that the pre-referendum warnings made by Bank of England governor Mark Carney were wide of the mark. Last May, he said that a vote for Brexit would pose an ‘immediate and significant threat’ to the UK economy, increasing unemployment, hitting growth, possibly to the point of recession. Today, however, the bank effectively admits that it was still being far too gloomy about the economy even last November. It upgraded its forecast for economic growth in 2017 from 1.4 per cent (as announced in the Autumn statement) to two per cent – saying that consumer spending has been stronger than expected and that the

Leak suggests EU will seek ‘special’ deal to access the City post-Brexit

The Guardian has a very significant story on its front page tomorrow. It has obtained notes of a meeting that Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, had with senior MEPs this week. These notes show that Barnier told them that he wanted a ‘special’ deal that would guarantee access for the EU firms and countries to the City of London’s financial markets. Interestingly, Barnier also said—according to The Guardian’s account—that ‘There will need to be work outside of the negotiation box … in order to avoid financial instability.” This suggests that Barnier shares Mark Carney’s view that there are financial stability risks for Europe if the EU cuts itself off

Mark Carney strikes a different tone on Brexit

Mark Carney made himself some enemies during the referendum. It wasn’t only his gloomy prophecies that caused trouble. His willingness to speak out in the first place was enough to anger those who thought he should keep shtum on a politically-loaded topic like Brexit. Today, though, we saw a different Carney. Gone was the gloominess, and in place of his warning that the referendum was ‘the most significant’ risk to Britain’s financial stability, came the verdict that Britain was largely out of that particular storm. He told the Treasury select committee that: ‘Having got through the night, if you will, and the day after, the scale of the immediate risks

Will disgruntlement prevail again in 2017? Who knows, but at least 2016 was quite fun

Most of my predictions for 2016 were wrong; so let’s not revisit them. But I was right, in January, to identify as a theme of the coming year an evident gulf between ‘the reinvigorated and the demoralised’. In small business sectors and provincial towns, as well as in the attitudes of millions of citizen voters here and abroad, the divergence between optimism and disgruntlement grew as the year went on. And when it came to elections and referendums, it was the downbeat that prevailed. So here we are, fearful of the craziness of Trump, the disintegration of Italy, the triumph of Marine Le Pen and the non-resolution of the Brexit

Mark Carney takes issue with Theresa May at Treasury select committee

With Mark Carney stepping down from his role as governor of the Bank of England in 2019, it’s been widely reported that relations between Carney and Theresa May are strained. As James Forsyth writes in The Spectator, the Prime Minister managed to rub Carney up the wrong way with her Conservative conference speech when she appeared to criticise central banks and citizens of the world. At today’s Treasury select committee, Carney denied that May’s comments played a role in his decision to extend his contract by just 12 months. He did, however, appear to take a swipe at May over her choice words. When Andrew Tyrie — the committee chair — pointed out that May

Don’t panic, Jacob Rees-Mogg will never replace Mark Carney

For Mark Carney to have returned to-Canada after five years as Governor, as he originally planned, rather than serving until 2021, might by now have looked like a win for his critics — so adding an extra year, up to the end of Brexit talks in 2019, is a sidestep worthy of Strictly. Meanwhile, I was delighted to find ‘Might it be worth a flutter on Governor Rees-Mogg?’, the punchline of my last item on this subject (22 October), bouncing around the global media. Bloomberg reported ‘serious political magazines’ speculating that backbench Tory MP and Carney critic Jacob Rees-Mogg might be the Canadian’s replacement; the Daily Mail cited-Bloomberg likewise; and

The Bank of England made a mistake. It should have admitted it

The currency has been devalued by more than 30 per cent. Interest rates have been pushed all the way up to 20 per cent. The IMF is standing by with an emergency package, and capital controls and dollar rationing have been maintained. It has been a heck of a morning for the pound – although, fortunately enough for most us, the Egyptian rather than British one. Over here, it has all been rather quieter. The Bank of England, as most people expected, has stuck with its decision over the summer to take rates all the way down to the 0.25 per cent. It now looks inevitable that it will hold

Nick Hilton

The Spectator podcast: Breaking the Bank

On this week’s podcast, we discuss the fraught relationship between Mark Carney and Theresa May, the similarities between the sieges in Mosul and Aleppo, and why we all have to wait so long at the airport. First up, this week saw Bank of England Governor Mark Carney announce that he would be stepping down from his post in June 2019. This was the conclusion to a troubled few weeks that started with the Prime Minister’s party conference speech, in which she spoke of the ‘bad side effects’ to recent monetary policy. So what’s the future for Carney and the Bank of England? And will May need to recalibrate her relationship

Martin Vander Weyer

It’s time for Hammond to send a ruthless hit squad into RBS

The new series of The Missing is surely the gloomiest television of the year. But it has nothing on the endless saga of RBS, which seems to use the same disturbing time-shift device: whenever there’s a horrible new plot twist, you have to spot whether we’re in 2008, 2011 or today. The crippled bank, still 73 per cent state-owned, has lost £2.5 billion in the first three quarters of this year, having just paid out another £425 million in ‘litigation and conduct’ costs chiefly relating to mortgage-backed securities hanky-panky in the US. Since its bailout eight years ago, it has lost considerably more than the £46 billion of taxpayers’ money

James Forsyth

Breaking the Bank

The exchange of letters this week between Mark Carney and Philip Hammond made it very clear who the supplicant was. The Governor of the Bank of England informed the Chancellor of the Exchequer that he was prepared to extend his term by one year. Carney pointed out that while the personal circumstances that had made him want to limit his term to five years had not changed, this country’s circumstances had. So he would be here a little longer. Things had seemed very different a few weeks ago, when Theresa May bemoaned the consequences of the Bank’s monetary policy in her party conference speech. ‘A change has got to come,’

What the papers say: The ‘posturing governor’ stays put

Mark Carney’s decision to stay on as Bank of England Governor until 2019 has been widely welcomed. But not everyone is happy about the news. The Daily Mail accuses Carney of being a ‘posturing governor’ and says the staging of his announcement yesterday was in line with much of his conduct: ‘designed to generate maximum publicity’. The paper says that while some were concerned at the possibility of uncertainty in the markets if he’d walked away, would it be any worse than ‘his relentless doom-mongering’? The Mail suggests Carney will be forever tainted by his conduct during the referendum, which it says was at its worst when he joined in with George Osborne’s

Mark Carney reveals his personal Brexit plan

After days of speculation – and months of simmering tensions – over the Governor of the Bank of England’s future, Mark Carney has finally revealed his exit plan. Following a meeting with the Prime Minister, Carney announced that he will stay on as Governor of the Bank of England only until June 2019 – three months after the UK is expected to leave the European Union. In a letter to the Chancellor, Carney expressed his wish to extend his current five-year term by one year in order to ‘help contribute to securing an orderly transition to the UK’s new relationship with Europe’. While some Brexiteers will no doubt be cheering

Matthew Lynn

The markets couldn’t care less whether Mark Carney stays or goes – and neither should we

A crash in the pound, with sterling trading down at $1.15, and heading to parity. A spike in gilts, and a flight by bond investors in a panic over the state of the British economy. As the headlines are dominated by reports that the Governor of the Bank of England might decide to pack his bags and return to his native Canada as early as next year, there has been lots of speculation about the havoc that might inflict on our already jittery post-Brexit economy. Right now, no one seems to know whether Mark Carney is likely to stay on as Governor beyond his initial five-year term or not. But