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Shift In Monetary Policy: ECB and BoE Likely To Cut Rates Sooner
Investors anticipate earlier interest rate reductions by the ECB and the BoE, driven by recent economic data.
Investors are increasingly predicting earlier interest rate cuts by the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England (BoE), spurred by recent economic indicators pointing towards a slowdown in the eurozone and the UK.
This shift in expectations follows decisions by the ECB, BoE, and the US Federal Reserve to maintain current rates, influenced by decelerating inflation and the delayed impact of prior monetary tightening on consumer spending and overall economic growth.
Central Banks Warn Against Complacency In Inflation Fight
Despite these signs of economic cooling, key central bank figures, including ECB President Christine Lagarde and BoE Governor Andrew Bailey, have cautioned that the inflation battle is ongoing. Lagarde emphasized the prematurity of rate cuts, a sentiment echoed by Bailey, who highlighted persistent inflation risks. This cautious stance comes in light of new data showing weaker UK retail sales and subdued industrial production in the eurozone, fueling market beliefs of multiple rate reductions in 2024 across major central banks.
Economic Indicators And Rate Cut Projections
A revision of rate cut expectations marks a significant shift from earlier forecasts. Previously, the first cuts by the BoE and ECB were not anticipated until early 2025 and late 2024, respectively. Chris Teschmacher of Legal & General Investment Management comments on likely scenarios, suggesting that central banks may respond more aggressively to an escalating economic downturn. Concurrently, recent data, including the European Commission's downward revision of eurozone growth and rising unemployment in France, paint a bleak macroeconomic landscape. The UK faces similar challenges, with retail sales dropping to a two-year low.
Inflation Trends And Rate Cut Possibilities
Amid these challenges, the UK's inflation rate experienced a sharper-than-anticipated decline in October, lending credence to the likelihood of impending rate cuts. Tomasz Wieladek, Chief European Economist at T Rowe Price, argues that weak consumer price index figures combined with poor economic data could prompt the BoE to reduce rates as early as May. This perspective aligns with broader market expectations of imminent rate cuts in response to the evolving economic climate.
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