More QE coming, Bank of England minutes suggest

More money printing within the next few months is likely despite signs that inflation will fall more slowly than predicted, according to minutes released from the Bank of England's recent meeting. Some economists are surprised that support for more stimulus had been so strong.

By Philip Aldrick, Economics Editor
5:59PM BST 19 Sep 2012
The Telegraph

According to the minutes, “some ... members felt that additional stimulus was more likely than not to be needed in due course”. One committee member, believed to be David Miles, almost voted for more QE at the meeting, the minutes added. In the end the decision to leave rates on hold at 0.5pc and QE unchanged at £375bn was unanimous.

Economists expressed surprise that the support for more stimulus had been so strong, given that the minutes also carried a warning that inflation will fall more slowly than the Bank predicted in its quarterly forecast last month.

“The rise in oil prices and the probable increase in utility and some food prices meant that the near-term outlook was for a less rapid fall in inflation than the Committee had thought [in] August,” the minutes said. As a result, it warned “that the squeeze on real household incomes would not ease further in the short term”.

David Tinsley, UK economist at BNP Paribas, said: “The minutes point to more QE... It still sounds like a good number of members are expecting to extend asset purchases – even against the backdrop of higher inflation.” He expects another £50bn of QE in November.

The Bank remained relatively upbeat on the economy, saying that recent industrial production data suggested some “modest underlying expansion” and that growth should return “towards the end of the year and into next year”.

The minutes also revealed that hopes are pinned on the funding for lending scheme (FLS), saying: “The extent of a pick-up in domestic activity would depend on how much the FLS boosted lending to households and firms.”

Lloyds Banking Group on Wednesday become the first lender to draw on the FLS, taking an initial £1bn.

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