It's another hold but Bank of England signals a cut in August is on the cards

No central bank wants to cut right in the middle of an election campaign, says ITV News Economics Editor Joel Hills

No one cuts during an election campaign.

The Bank of England is politically independent and determined to be perceived as being so.

Had it moved today, the decision to lower the cost of borrowing would have been pounced on and used by the parties in the tussle for votes.

Happily for the Bank, yesterday’s inflation data provided the justification for it to sit on its hands.

The headline annual rate of inflation fell to 2% last month - bang on the Bank’s target.

But inflation in the Services sector of the economy is running at 5.7% - hotter than the Bank forecast and too high for comfort.

The Bank says the increase in the National Living Wage in April helps to explain the overshoot, as companies passed on their costs in the form of higher prices.

Airfares, phone and broadband contracts, water and sewage bills and rents for council housing also rose by more than expected.

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The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted 7-2 to keep interest rates at 5.25%.

The minutes repeat the concern about the “tightness” of the labour market but also note that unemployment is rising and the number of vacancies in the economy continues to fall.

The minutes also state that some of those who voted to hold - a group which included the governor Andrew Bailey - feel the economy is still on a “disinflationary trajectory”.

The minutes add: “As part of the August round, members of the Committee would consider all of the information available and how this affected the assessment that the risks from inflation persistence were receding”.

Former MPC member Martin Weale cautions inflation is not yet tamed

Central bankers communicate in a language which often feels tortured and incomprehensible to anyone who is not a central banker or a market analyst, but the signal here, while nuanced, seems clear enough.

These are nods and winks and, as ever, they depend on the data, but they suggest that the Bank is on the brink.

The scene is set for a first cut in August.

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