Bank of England tries surrogate rate hike

The Bank of England raised fears over surging levels of unsecured consumer borrowing

The Bank of England raised fears over surging levels of unsecured consumer borrowing

"Absent a material change in the outlook, and consistent with its stated policy for a standard risk environment and of moving gradually, the FPC expects to increase the rate to 1 percent at its November meeting", the bank added in the report.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said:"There are pockets of risk that warrant extra vigilance". Among the requirements in that report: United Kingdom banks must increase their capital buffers to protect themselves against myriad risks, including Brexit and an overall increase in consumer borrowing.

The Bank's Financial Policy Committee (FPC) suggested lenders had become complacent about their lending. This was part of a range of stimulus measures to help cope with the shock.

That became even more clear on Wednesday when Jon Cunliffe, who sits on the MPC as deputy governor for financial stability, made clear that he does not support a rate hike anytime soon, citing concerns about slowing consumer spending, which he believes now trumps the surging inflation caused by the pound's slump since the referendum - which has itself been a driver of slowing spending.

Carney cited the sharp build up in auto financing - both in volume and the move towards "personal contract purchasing" deals (where buyers pay monthly repayments).

Although consumer credit only accounts for 10 per cent of lending to United Kingdom borrowers, it is responsible for a far higher proportion of banking sector losses.

Carney said the boom in auto loans is a major factor behind the pick-up in consumer debt, but that he remained "sanguine" about the banking sector's overall exposure to it.

In March, the Bank highlighted consumer credit as a greater risk than buy-to-let mortgages. Hearing that customers won't be able to buy so easily on credit, increases uncertainty and will delay investment decisions and refinancing agreements even further.

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But warning about higher rates is no substitute for the real thing. So either those rates should rise, or asset prices should fall.

At the same time Tuesday, the BoE's report expressed concern about the mortgage market and called on banks to tighten affordability tests for home loans.

But the new rule says lenders should instead consider how borrowers would handle a 3 per cent increase in firms' standard variable rates.

The BoE also said it was concerned that lenders were placing too much weight on recent low losses, which could only be achieved in the current benign conditions.

In the immediate aftermath of Britain's vote to leave the European Union last June, the BOE reversed a planned increase in the buffer to help stave off the United Kingdom slump that was predicted by economists.

Sir Jon told the BBC he wanted to see how inflation pressures evolved before deciding to raise interest rates from a record low 0.25%. Chief Economist Andy Haldane said in a speech last week that he may soon push for a rise in borrowing costs to restrain rising inflation.

Three out of eight members of the monetary policy committee unexpectedly voted to raise interest rates, jolting financial markets.

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