LONDON (Reuters) – The Bank of England should begin raising interest rates now, because spare capacity in Britain’s fast-recovering economy could be used up by the middle of next year, adding to inflation pressures, a Bank policymaker said in a Sunday newspaper.
Ian McCafferty, one of two Bank rate-setters to have voted for rate hikes since August, reiterated his view that raising borrowing costs now would help the BoE to nudge up rates only gradually.
Calls for a rate hike might appear odd at a time when British inflation is at a five-year low of 1.2 percent, well below the BoE’s 2 percent target, McCafferty said in a column published in The Sunday Times.
He also acknowledged the uncertain outlook for the global economy.
However, the amount of spare capacity in Britain’s economy had been used up “quite rapidly” and was expected to keep on getting smaller, “even with a more moderate pace of growth likely through the winter.”
“By the middle of next year, the remaining level of slack is likely to be small, if any remains at all,” he wrote.
The Bank of England cut interest rates to a record low of 0.5 percent in early 2009, at the height of the financial crisis, and has kept them there ever since, even as the economy began to recover more strongly in mid-2013.
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