January 12, 2020 / 4:46 AM / 13 days ago

BoE's Vlieghe to vote for rate cut if data shows weak economy: FT

FILE PHOTO: Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee Member, Gertjan Vlieghe looks on during a Reuters Newsmaker event in London, Britain July 12, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

(Reuters) - Bank of England policymaker Gertjan Vlieghe said on Sunday he will vote for a cut in interest rates later this month, barring an “imminent and significant” improvement in the country’s growth data.

“Personally I think it’s been a close call, therefore it doesn’t take much data to swing it one way or the other,” Vlieghe, a member of the bank’s Monetary Policy Committee, told the Financial Times.

“I really need to see an imminent and significant improvement in the UK data to justify waiting a little bit longer.”

Vlieghe’s comments follow other recent suggestions that Britain’s central bank is edging toward a looser monetary policy.

Governor Mark Carney, who steps down in March, surprised markets last Thursday by saying that the BoE could cut interest rates if the economic weakness seen in late 2019 persists into 2020.

Silvana Tenreyro, who is also a policymaker at the central bank, on Friday joined the talk and said she would be inclined to back an interest rate cut in the coming months if growth remained sluggish in the economy.

Britain’s economy lost momentum after the 2016 Brexit referendum and slowed to a crawl in late 2019, although tentative signs of a pick-up in sentiment appeared after Prime Minister Boris Johnson won an unexpectedly big majority in a Dec. 12 election.

“We will get a lot of information as soon as the end of January,” Vlieghe added.

“We’ll get a lot of business and some household surveys that cleanly relate to the period after the election, so that will give us an initial read as to how people are responding.”

Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Richard Pullin

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