I have just wandered to my nearest Starbucks for the bargain that was its “tall, black, filter coffee”. As others have paid £4 for their daily dose of vanilla-spiced, grande, half-fat frozen frappuccino, that august American tax-paying institution has been charging me the princely sum of £1 for real coffee. Indeed, this was actually 38p cheaper than the equivalent in my employer’s “subsidised” canteen.
Well as of 7am this morning that all changed. £1.25! 25% overnight inflation. The Scot in me is still wrestling with the conundrum – is the 13p residual saving versus a short trip to my canteen worth the shoe leather?
I wonder if Mr Carney and the rest of the MPC take their coffee black and, had they visited Starbucks this morning, would their monetary policy decision yesterday have been the same?
Like many people I am confused; not necessarily at the MPC rates decision, more with the accompanying rhetoric. Apparently the main reason for not raising rates was because UK consumers would face a squeeze this year from the impact of higher inflation, all of which was attributed to a weaker sterling. Eh, you’ve lost me there chief – the MPC cut rates post BREXIT in part to push the currency LOWER so that the impact of a weaker sterling would OFFSET some of the uncertainties of leaving the EU. If Carney is really worried about the squeeze on household income, firstly in part this is a situation HE created and secondly, by RAISING rates he could help reverse it.
Let’s be honest here. Central banks globally have expanded their balance sheets to nearly $18trillion in the past decade. That’s greater than US GDP. They have created the mother of all asset bubbles across most financial asset classes and now are sh*t-scared of unwinding. That and the ongoing need to fund ever-larger government deficits means they seek ANY excuse to keep rates as low as possible for as long as possible. Meanwhile, financial assets move ever-higher, the day of reckoning pushed further into the future, but likely to be all the more painful when it does arrive. Then again Carney, Draghi and Yellen can continue to manipulate markets longer than I care to work for. Good luck timing your exit.