BoE warns on inflation fixation

Focusing solely on inflation would revive a “dangerous distraction” that preceded the 2008 crash, and guarding financial stability was equally vital, the Bank of England governor warned last night.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. Picture: Reuters
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. Picture: Reuters

Mark Carney said in a speech that both were essential “to oil the wheels of commerce” and keep the public’s trust in money.

It came as the governor also unveiled major staff changes at the helm of the Bank, including its rate-setting monetary policy committee getting its first female member since 2010. Nemat “Minouche” Shafik, deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund since 2011, assumes the new role of deputy governor for markets and banking in August.

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Ben Broadbent becomes deputy governor for monetary policy in July, replacing Charlie Bean who is leaving after 14 years.

Spencer Dale is to be replaced by Andy Haldane on the MPC in June as they swap jobs. Dale will take over as executive director for financial stability, while Haldane becomes chief economist.

Carney said in his speech that he wanted to break down internal walls between different parts of the central bank to make it more effective. He also warned that officials had to monitor excessive risk being taken on by banks in a long period of historically low interest rates.

He said that “the period of low and predictable interest rates before the financial crisis helped drive a ‘search for yield’ and leverage cycle, even with inflation subdued. It doesn’t take a genius to see that similar risks exist today.”