Everything you need to know about the Bank of England

The next Bank of England interest rate announcement will be on 18 March 2021. Learn about the Bank of England ahead of the meeting – including what the BoE base rate is and how the announcements impact financial markets.

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What is the Bank of England (BoE)?

The Bank of England is the United Kingdom’s central bank. The BoE is tasked with setting monetary policy and issuing currency, as well as regulating banks and being the lender of last resort – meaning it provides loans to banks and other institutions that are in financial difficulty.

The Bank of England is just one of many central banks; other famous examples are the Federal Reserve System in the US and European Central Bank. The BoE is one of the oldest banks in the world, so it has been used as a model for central banks around the world.

What is the Bank of England base rate?

The Bank of England base rate is the interest that the Bank of England pays to any commercial bank that holds money with them. This rate will have a direct impact on the interest rates that banks charge or pay to consumers – so it’ll impact what you’d pay if you take out a loan, or you’d receive from your savings account.

The purpose of the base rate is to help regulate inflation. Monitoring and changing the base rate is a core part of the monetary policy responsibilities of the BoE. Every year an inflation target is set by the government that aims to keep inflation low and stable and the BoE will change the bank rate to meet this inflation target. Currently, this target is set at 2%.

Any changes in the rates will trickle down to individuals and influence how much people are willing to spend. For example, if the base rates fall, it makes interest payments on loans cheaper – which means people might decide to take out mortgages and business loans – but also decreases the amount of interest earned from savings accounts, which makes it less rewarding to save.

Bank of England interest rate process

What is the latest BoE bank rate?

The current BoE bank rate was set at 0.1% during the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on 3 February 2021. The Committee decided to maintain the rate of 0.1% which has been in place since March 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The BoE rate had been 0.75% since August 2018, but the health crisis caused the Bank to cut the rate quickly to 0.25% and then 0.1% a week later. The current 0.1% base rate is the lowest the Bank of England bank rate has been in decades – including during the 2008 financial.

What is the Bank of England MPC?

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is the body in charge of setting monetary policy. It has a goal of meeting the government’s 2% inflation target to sustain growth and employment.

The MPC sets and announces monetary policy eight times a year – roughly every six weeks – usually always at noon on a Thursday. It’s estimated that the decisions made by the MPC will take two years to fully take effect – which means all announcements have to consider future events as well as historic and current economic circumstances.

As well as their base rate announcements, the BoE also releases quarterly monetary policy reports, which set out their economic analysis and inflation projections. These reports are useful for traders as they explain the decisions behind interest rates in more detail.

The Committee is made up of nine members: The Governor of the Bank of England, three Deputy Governors, a Chief Economist and four external members appointed directly by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Each member will have previous expertise in the field of economics and monetary policy – the external members of the MPC ensure that the Committee’s knowledge pool is diversified beyond the Bank of England.

Name

Position

Andrew Bailey

Governor of the Bank of England

Ben Broadbent

Deputy Governor, Monetary Policy

Sir Jon Cunliffe

Deputy Governor, Financial Stability

Sir Dave Ramsden

Deputy Governor, Markets and Banking

Andy Haldane

Chief Economist and Executive Director

Jonathan Haskel

External member

Michael Saunders

External member

Silvana Tenreyo

External member

When is the next Bank of England interest rate announcement?

The next Bank of England is interest rate announcement will be on 18 March 2021, at approximately midday – the minutes from the MPC meeting are published on the same day.

Get the most recent news and analysis

Bank of England announcement calendar

MPC announcement and minutes publication

Monetary policy report publication

Thursday 18 March

 

Thursday 6 May

Thursday 6 May

Thursday 24 June

 

Thursday 5 August

Thursday 5 August

Thursday 23 September

 

Thursday 4 November

Thursday 4 November

Thursday 16 December

 

How do MPC announcements impact financial markets?

MPC announcements impact financial markets as any changes to interest rates will affect the value of currency pairs, indices stocks, bonds and other securities. Most traders will attempt to predict what the MPC will decide so that they can change their positions ahead of the announcement to minimise risk and even make a profit.

For example, if the MPC decides to increase interest rates, this could cause the value of the pound to rise and reduce the value of stocks, bonds, indices and other securities. And if they decide to lower interest rates, GBP could fall in value and cause other asset classes to rise.

Most traders will monitor forex pairs such as EUR/GBP and GBP/USD, UK stock indices including the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250, as well as any UK based banking stocks such as Barclays, Lloyds and HSBC.

Who is the Bank of England governor?

The governor of the Bank of England is Andrew Bailey, who’s term runs from 16 March 2020 to 15 March 2028. The governor is responsible for overseeing the Bank’s three main goals: keeping inflation in check, monitoring the financial system and regulating banks.

Previously, Bailey served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and was a member of the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Committee and Financial Policy Committee.

Who owns the Bank of England?

The Bank of England is owned by the UK government – it was nationalised in 1946 – but is a completely independent body. This is to ensure the BoE remains free from political influence and can act in the best interests of the public.

History of the Bank of England

The Bank of England was established in 1694, but it wasn’t until 1844 when the Bank Charter Act gave the BoE exclusive rights to issue bank notes. The BoE was nationalised after World War Two and has been setting the UK’s interest rate since 1997.

Following the 2008 financial crisis, the responsibilities of the Bank of England have expanded. The government introduced new regulatory frameworks aimed at creating a much stricter regulatory framework for the financial services industry. Under the Financial Services Act of 2012, created the Financial Policy Committee – which identifies, monitors and acts on systemic risks to the UK financial system – and Prudential Regulation Authority, which is responsible for the supervision of banks, building societies and major investment firms.

As Britain’s exit from the European Union unfolds, the Bank of England will also take on a more active role. Although the UK was not subject to the European Central Bank’s monetary policies in the same way as other countries – as it never used the Euro – the BoE will still need to control any fiscal consequences of leaving the Union, such as inflation and the collapse of the pound.


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