I mean what I say
The new governor is struggling to convince sceptical markets
CREDIBILITY is treasured by central bankers. It is after all why politicians, who patently lack that precious quality, have entrusted the monetary guardians with the job of taming inflation. But what happens when investors do not believe a supposedly binding central-bank commitment to keep interest rates low?
The answer this week from Mark Carney, the Canadian governor of the Bank of England, was to set out again the case for the forward guidance which had failed to convince the markets when he first delivered it earlier this month. Speaking in Nottingham on August 28th he also announced a relaxation in banks' liquidity requirements to encourage lending. But Mr Carney's speech seemed unlikely to sway the sceptics. They doubt that the bank's base rate, which has been at a three-century low of 0.5% for over four years, will stay there for another three.
Mr Carney's task is tricky because the bank's forward guidance is about as clear as an insurance policy once the small print has been read. The crucial pledge is that the bank's monetary-policy committee (MPC) will not think about raising interest rates until the unemployment rate, currently 7.8%, falls to 7%. Since the bank's own forecast shows this will take until well into 2016, the MPC is in effect promising to sit on its hands for another three years. But that seemingly straightforward commitment comes with “knockout” clauses. If inflation becomes a threat or financial stability is being endangered, forward guidance will no longer apply.
鉴于英国银行之前的明细规定，与用极难阅读的小字印刷的保险理赔条款一般“清晰明确”，卡尼先生的该项策略实属明智之举，最为关键的是，英国银行下属的货币政策委员会（monetary-policy committee—MPC）在国家失业率由目前的7.8%下降至7%之前，将不会再提高利率，而由于银行预测显示该形式预计在2016年才会有所好转，若货币政策委员会（MPC）履行承诺，那么他们将会在接下来的三年内不再插手该事，然而委员会却道貌岸然地提出了所谓“淘汰”条款，即当通货膨胀构成威胁或国家经济稳定形势岌岌可危时，之前的规定将不再作数。译者：尤熠 校对：曾擎禹