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Pound rallies on rising rate-hike expectations

By Neil Dennis

08:28, 16 November 2021

Andrew Bailey, Bank of England governor
Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey “very uneasy” about rising rate of inflation – Photo: Bank of England

The pound remained higher against its main rivals on Tuesday after the Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey said he was “very uneasy” about rising inflation in the UK.

Sterling climbed 0.3% to $1.3453 against the dollar on Tuesday, and gained 0.2% to £0.8456 versus euro, while rising 0.4% to JPY153.61 against the Japanese yen.

Speaking on Monday afternoon to the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee Bailey explained that the central bank’s decision to hold interest rates at a record low of 0.1% at its last Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting earlier this month was “a very close call”.

No November rate hike

Sterling reacted very poorly to the MPC call on 4 November as a rate increase to 0.25% had been fully priced in by the money markets.

Indeed, the pound has lost nearly 2% against the dollar since that meeting and has been under relentless pressure against its US rival since May, as high US inflation began to change the tone of some policymakers at the Federal Reserve.

From the chorus of doves that maintained price pressures were mainly due to transitory effects – several hawks have emerged to address the concerns of rising inflation and making markets believe that rate hikes could follow next year.

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December hike price likely

The Bank of England’s MPC members now look likely to make the first rate increase since August 2018 at next month’s final MPC meeting of 2021. This is a move that is by now more than fully priced in by the money markets.


1.27 Price
+0.690% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0047%
Short position overnight fee -0.0035%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.00013


0.67 Price
+0.880% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0071%
Short position overnight fee -0.0011%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.00006


0.67 Price
+0.880% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0071%
Short position overnight fee -0.0011%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.00006


1.10 Price
+0.490% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0080%
Short position overnight fee -0.0002%
Overnight fee time 22:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.00006

Talking of the Bank’s 2% inflation target, Bailey stressed: “I am concerned that there is a view in some quarters that we’ve gone off that … it’s not true.”

He added: “I’m very uneasy about the inflation situation - I want to be very clear on that. It is not where we wanted to be, to have inflation above target.”

Also at Monday’s Commons hearing, MPC member Michael Saunders said that he voted for a rise, noting increasing inflationary pressures and a tightening labour market.

“I felt, given that evidence, that the likelihood of a pick-up in the pace of pay growth was sufficiently high that we should start now to withdraw some of the stimulus that was put in place,” Saunders said.

UK unemployment

Also supporting the pound on Tuesday morning, the Office of National Statistics (ONS)  reported that the rate of unemployment in the UK fell to 4.3% in the three months to the end of September from 4.5% in the June-August period after a record 304,000 joined the labour force. According to the ONS, a record 1.17 million jobs were available in the three months to the end of October.

“Things are more challenging for employers, who now face the tightest labour market on record - with those trying to recruit facing increasingly fierce competition from other companies,” said Jack Kennedy, UK economist at jobs website Indeed.

Read more: Pound falls as Bank of England keeps rates at 0.1%

Markets in this article

0.86602 USD
-0.00165 -0.190%
187.336 USD
-0.366 -0.200%
1.27110 USD
0.0087 +0.690%

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The difference between trading assets and CFDs
The main difference between CFD trading and trading assets, such as commodities and stocks, is that you don’t own the underlying asset when you trade on a CFD.
You can still benefit if the market moves in your favour, or make a loss if it moves against you. However, with traditional trading you enter a contract to exchange the legal ownership of the individual shares or the commodities for money, and you own this until you sell it again.
CFDs are leveraged products, which means that you only need to deposit a percentage of the full value of the CFD trade in order to open a position. But with traditional trading, you buy the assets for the full amount. In the UK, there is no stamp duty on CFD trading, but there is when you buy stocks, for example.
CFDs attract overnight costs to hold the trades (unless you use 1-1 leverage), which makes them more suited to short-term trading opportunities. Stocks and commodities are more normally bought and held for longer. You might also pay a broker commission or fees when buying and selling assets direct and you’d need somewhere to store them safely.
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