Morgan Stanley and Goldman Give Up on June Rate Cut at BOE

(Bloomberg) -- Some of Wall Street’s biggest banks have been forced to rethink how soon the Bank of England can cut interest rates after a disappointing inflation reading was followed by news of a UK election.

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Economists at banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Morgan Stanley, HSBC Holdings Plc and Barclays Plc all now expect the BOE to lower borrowing costs in August, rather than at its upcoming policy meeting in June. The key rate has been at 5.25% since August, its highest since 2008.

The reconsideration followed data on Wednesday showing that inflation slowed less than expected in April, particularly in the services sector. Money markets, which already viewed a June cut as a coin-toss, swiftly priced out the chance of a move next month.

“The June MPC meeting was always likely to be a close call and and punchy inflation data may have knocked out the prospect of a cut,” said Simon Wells, chief European economist at HSBC, which pushed its call back to August.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s decision later in the day to call a summer election on July 4 cemented the view that next month would be too early, given the perceived sensitivities around changing monetary policy as party campaigning ramps up.

Such a move would be “optically problematic,” according to Barclays, which changed its view from June to August after the inflation release. The BOE has cancelled all speeches and public statements by policymakers during the UK election campaign.

“The election communications blackout period would hamper the ability of the committee to tee up and then subsequently explain a June cut,” analysts including Jack Meaning wrote in a note. “This further strengthens our conviction that June is off the table and that Bank rate will not begin to come down until later in the year.”

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