News & Analysis

Red hot inflation in UK points to 25bp hike, BoE and SNB preview.

23 March 2023 By Lachlan Meakin


Bank of England

Headline February inflation in the UK came at a hotter than expected 10.4%, well above the consensus of a drop to 9.9% and indicating that Januarys dip to 10.1% seems to have been temporary.

Unwelcome news for the BoE who have a rate  meeting today, before this figure the decision seemed to be on a knife edge, with the markets pricing in a 50-50 chance of a 25bp hike or a hold, those odds have since blown out to make a hike pretty much a done deal with the market pricing in a 90% chance that the BoE will keep the tightening process going. The big change in hike expectations can be seen below, in the Pre CPI vs the Post CPI figures

This unsurprisingly saw the GBPUSD rally sharply as the markets repriced the BoE’s actions today, interestingly we can see that the reaction, though a decent move was dwarfed by the volatility seen during and post the FOMC rate decision in this pair. The UK being a world financial hub means the GBP is especially risk sensitive to financial conditions, whether that is global interest rates , banking stress or threats of global growth slowdowns, the actions of the BoE, while still important have taken a seat to these more macro drivers.

With all this in mind the probable 25bp rate hike today will more than likely have a muted first effect on the GBP, the accompanying statement and the voting pattern of the MPC member will be what GBP traders are looking at to get some direction for the session. With the shock of the inflation beat fresh in their minds it’s hard to see the BoE being too dovish but against the current uncertainty in the financial markets I don’t think we’ll see any sustained rally of the GBP after the fact unless there is a real hawkish surprise from the BoE members.


Swiss National Bank

Up until recently the SNB meetings have been almost as boring as the Bank of Japan meetings, this has all changed as BoJ the meetings have thrown up surprises and todays SNB against the backdrop of the collapse of Credit Suisse could actually be interesting.

The markets are pricing in a 50bp hike from the SNB, despite Swiss banking woes it would be a big surprise if they didn’t go through with this, inflation is rising in Switzerland (jumping unexpectedly to 3.4% last month) and they are a long way behind the curve in respects to other Central Banks with their official rate only sitting at 1%, far behind their peers in Europe  and the US. Again the interesting part will be the statement and press conference, where the focus will likely remain on interest rate policy and the banking sector. CHF may strengthen on the decision but with major support on the USDCHF around the 0.9094 level, any downside on this pair should be limited.

The SNB decision is due out at 08:30 GMT with the BoE following at 12:00 GMT

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