Carney Says Brexit Uncertainty Cascading Through the Economy

A pedestrian passes the Bank of England in the City of London

A pedestrian passes the Bank of England in the City of London. , Bloomberg

The bank's Quarterly Inflation report, released on Thursday, warned that Brexit was having a clear negative impact on the United Kingdom economy, saying that since the last Inflation Report, in November: "The further intensification of Brexit uncertainties, coupled with the slowing global economy, had weighed on the near-term outlook for United Kingdom growth".

The bank now forecasts 1.2 percent growth this year, down from 1.7 percent predicted three months ago, the biggest downgrade since the 2016 referendum.

The other factor weighing on the GBP/USD was the Bank of England cutting the growth forecast for the United Kingdom economy lower in the February release of its Inflation report last Thursday.

Weak business investment led to a sharp cut in the Bank's GDP forecasts from 1.7 per cent growth to 1.2 per cent, the slowest pace since the financial crisis.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said the "fog of Brexit" is weighing heavily on businesses' investment decisions, while households are starting to spend less.

"If there's a shock, which... a no-deal transition Brexit would be - it would be a negative shock, then that further increases the possibility of negative quarters".

In the USA, the Federal Reserve last month left its key lending rate unchanged and said it would be patient about making any further changes, in a clear signal that the central bank has heeded concerns about the economy.

"Taking into consideration these developments and assuming a normal monsoon in 2019, the path of CPI inflation is revised downwards to 2.8 per cent in Q4:2018-19, 3.2-3.4 per cent in H1:2019-20 and 3.9 per cent in Q3:2019-20, with risks broadly balanced around the central trajectory", RBI said.

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Ricky Knox, CEO of Tandem, says, "Consumers and investors are both uncertain about the British economy". A sharper-than-expected slowdown in the global economy is also impacting United Kingdom growth, according to the Bank.

Sterling dropped around 0.4 per cent immediately after the bank's cut growth forecasts, sliding to $1.286.

Although it did hold out the hope of a recovery later this year if an orderly deal is negotiated by the March deadline. The economy could grow by around 0.5 percentage point more over the coming three years.

Statistics showed the economy expanded only 7.1 per cent on-year in July-September, down from 8.2 percent in the previous quarter.

India's December headline inflation fell to an 18-month low of 2.19 percent, well below the RBI's medium-term 4 percent target.

Economist James Smith at ING said: "The Bank is highly unlikely to tighten policy again through the first half of this year, and indeed the chances of a rate hike at all in 2019 have receded - although we think it's too early to write one off completely".

Carney denied the February inflation report was a move away from its plan for "gradual and limited" interest rate hikes in the future.

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