Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Does Carney Bring Canadian Cheer?

30 June 2014

Mark Carney is a stereotypically polite Canadian, so it seems rather rude to arrive in the country and, hardly has he unpacked his ice hockey skates and maple syrup supply, he then drops the bombshell of an interest rate rise … or maybe not.

The Governor still has the Bank of England base rate in the basement, and we all thought the campaign had moved on from speculation to expectation of a rise. The financial bomb-bay doors were no longer just open, it’s bank leader to pilot “bombs away”.  Except, there’s a hitch.  The question now is not ‘if’, it’s not ‘when’, it’s more likely ‘eh, pilot to bombardier Carney, what’s happening?’

We all thought our number was up, until Mr Carney’s somewhat bashful retraction at the recent Parliamentary Treasury Committee meeting, prompted MP Pat McFadden to make his dating reference to the Bank of England as ‘an unreliable boyfriend’, when Carney reportedly said the timing of an interest rate rise will now be fluid, and will be driven by the data.  Yes, that sounds like the sort of prevarication even Katy Perry wouldn’t countenance.  You're hot then you're cold, you're yes then you're no, you're in then you're out, you're up then you're down, the singer said - although not necessarily in the context of the Bank of England Base Rate.

Down here on ground zero, what does Marky Carney’s less catchy number mean for us?  Should we scramble for the shelters or head for the hills?  Of course, that depends on whether you see yourself as a winner or loser as a result of interest rate rises - or falls - or non-movement.  That’s a judgement for you to make, based on your own circumstances, but the popular press are united in their opinion.  Prior to the committee meeting the press were saying the end (of low interest rates) is nigh.  Now Mark’s made it uncertain for all!

So what sort of bomb has Carney released on us (or not)?  It’s a bit high in the sky just yet to make out the markings, but the business observer corps have already allowed themselves to speculate a little.

Will the cool Canuck have gone strategic, and dropped a warhead to end all warheads?  Unlikely say the press.  Flattening the economy with a mega-rate-riser will assure the Governor’s mutual destruction too.  Chances are it’s not a salvo of block-busting grand-slammers either.  Every financial war correspondent says that would just be a shock and awe that would reduce the economy to the stone age, step by step.

Most likely, says everyone from Kate Aide to Robert Peston, we’ll be faced with a long series of little blasts, gradually building up to a base rate rise that business can handle, and a level that makes the country an attractive place to save and invest.

Then again, Carney might just ask the pilot to go round again, until he gets his aim right - like a bashful boyfriend about to pop the question only to find he’s brought the box and forgot the ring.

Whatever your position - under the barrage of paying off debts or up in the high command of saving and investment - make sure you’ve considered all your options and planned your response.  No matter how the rate raid works out for you, Springfords will make sure you don’t get caught out when the bank and taxation troops follow up. 

Of course, we wouldn’t mind if that air drop turns out to be a financial food parcel, parachuted into our beleaguered business bunkers.  Any chance of that, Bombardier Carney?

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