Mark Carney hints interest rate might not rise for some time

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Mark Carney attends a monetary policy committee briefing on his first day as Governor of the Bank of England Photo: Jason Alden/PA Wire/Press Association Images

At first glance, Mark Carney's first policy meeting as Governor of the Bank of England is unremarkable: policy hasn't moved.

Interest rates stay at 0.5 percent and quantitative easing hasn't been expanded. This was widely expected by City analysts and investors - not least because the Governor is only one of nine votes on the Monetary Policy Committee and there has been a strong majority against change for the previous five months despite Mr Carney's predecessor, Sir Mervyn King, voting to ease conditions.

However, the new Governor doesn't need to win a vote to add a commentary to the decision and that's what he's done. It is quite significant.

There is a warning that the recent rise in government bond interest rates (yields) could hurt the economy and City expectations that the Bank will increase its own base rates sooner than previously thought are "not warranted."

In other words, the economy is doing better than before, but it's not that healthy.

It's a hint that the Bank is minded to tell us next month that it won't raise rates for some time - which would be a promise that cheap borrowing will continue.

This would constitute "guidance," Mr Carney's innovation which worked in Canada at his last job as governor there and which he hopes will help the UK by providing confidence to borrowers that they're not going to get stung with high interest rates.

It's still only a hint - we'll know for sure in August - but investors have reacted quickly: the pound has weakened by 1.3 percent, the FTSE index of the top 100 companies is up 1.8 per cent.