What is Super Thursday?
Thursday is the day the Bank of England will announce three major pieces of information: its decision on interest rates; the minutes of the monetary policy committee’s meeting at which that decision was reached; and the quarterly inflation report, its latest view on the state of the UK economy.
All this will be announced at noon, and at 12.45pm Bank of England governor Mark Carney will hold a press conference to explain the decisions and outline the Bank’s view on the inflation and economy.
Why is this day different from the past?
Previously, all three announcements were spread over two weeks. The minutes, for example, have traditionally been published a fortnight after the rate-setting committee’s meeting. The Bank of England is the only one of the world’s 10 leading central banks that still publishes its rate decision without any accompanying explanation.
Why is the Bank doing this?
Carney wants to make the bank’s decision-making process more transparent. When he first took office two years ago, he tried to achieve this with his “forward guidance” policy. However, the bank’s forecasts proved so unreliable, and Carney was forced to spend so much timing explaining himself, that forward guidance was quietly abandoned.
Eventually, 28 separate monetary announcements from the Bank will be shoehorned into eight announcements over the course of the year.
What does the City make of all this?
The City is in a state of high excitement – the timing of the first rise in interest rates for eight years will have an impact on sterling and foreign exchange dealers will be glued to their screens at midday when the information is released. Any hint that rates will rise sooner rather than later will send the pound surging.
But the release of so much information all at once is likely to see highly volatile trading, as dealers struggle to digest it all.
What are the key things to look for?
No change is expected to Britain’s record low 0.5% interest rates. But the City will be scrutinising the minutes to see how many members of the nine-strong MPC have voted for a rate rise. Two members – Martin Weale and Ian McCafferty are expected to vote for an increase – and a key question is whether they will be joined by a third member.
Will the data dump make it easier to understand the Bank’s thinking?
Not necessarily. There is such a thing as information overload. The Guardian’s economics editor, Larry Elliott, thinks Super Thursday “will make it harder, not easier, for the Bank’s thinking to be scrutinised”. He adds: “And that matters, given that Threadneedle Street failed to spot the crash coming in 2007, failed to ease policy quickly enough in 2008, was persistently overoptimistic about the pace of recovery from 2010 onwards, and may be about to get it wrong again.”
What will this mean for me?
Clues about the timing of the next rise in interest rates will put households on notice that their mortgage and borrowing costs are set to rise. Savers will also be interested in when they might see some improvement to the paltry returns on their savings. If the pound rises, it will also be good news for holidaymakers.
This article was written by Julia Kollewe, for theguardian.com on Thursday 6th August 2015 08.23 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010