• Dr Gerard Lyons

Quoted in an article in The Guardian on Friday in response to the Bank of England decision

Updated: Nov 6, 2021

I was quoted in an article by Philip Inman in the Guardian on Friday November 5th. Below is the opening paragraphs of the column, plus my comments, and the full article can be accessed and read here...

Bank of England’s mixed messages leave markets fearful of another ‘unreliable boyfriend’

It is not “compulsory for the Bank of England governor to be an unreliable boyfriend”, Andrew Bailey joked during a press conference to explain why the central bank he runs kept interest rates on hold when action of some kind was expected.

As quips go, it fell flat in financial markets, where currency traders sold the pound, knocking more than 1% from sterling’s value against the US dollar.

It also left many economists gasping for air as the full implications of Bailey’s refusal to turn up to his own party began to sink in. He had stressed last month that monetary policy “will have to act” if there is a risk of inflation. Those words were not followed by action on Thursday, despite the rising wages and prices.

Gerard Lyons, a former candidate for governor and a former adviser to Boris Johnson, described the governor’s signalling as “appalling”, adding that by not correcting how the market or the media interpreted his comments he encouraged “hawkish expectations ahead of this meeting that was not merited by the recent data”.

Lyons went on to say the bank needed to learn from the US Federal Reserve, “to be on top of the data” and “guide” the market.

He is not the only commentator to offer a disparaging comparison of the Bank of England’s public relations to those of the Fed, or the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank, where the path of interest rates is clearly mapped out.

Gerard Lyons