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12 July 2019

BOE member Vlieghe: No-deal Brexit might mean near-zero rates

The Bank of England might need to cut interest rates almost all the way down to zero in the event of a no-deal Brexit and it is not clear how long it would take for them to rise again, BOE member Gertjan Vlieghe said.

Vlieghe dedicated most of his speech to arguing that the BoE should make a major change to its forecasting process and follow other central banks by setting out its best collective guess about how borrowing costs might change.

"On balance I think it is more likely that I would move to cut Bank Rate towards the effective lower bound of close to 0% in the event of a no-deal scenario," Vlieghe said.

"It is highly uncertain when I would want to reverse these interest rate cuts," he said, explaining it would depend on the economy recovering from its no-deal shock or a rise in inflation risks caused by a slump in the value of the pound.

On the other hand, if Britain can ease its way out of the EU with a deal, the BoE could raise rates to 1.0% in one year, 1.25% in two years and 1.75% in three years' time, he said. However, such increases would probably also depend on the global economy recovering from its slowdown.

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