Central banks maintain rates, UK inflation slows to 18-month low


In a series of significant monetary policy decisions, the Bank of England and the Swiss National Bank held their benchmark rates steady on Thursday, September 21, 2023, following the US Federal Reserve's decision to keep its rate unchanged on Wednesday. This comes as inflation in the UK slowed to an 18-month low in August.


The Swiss National Bank (SNB) held its policy interest rate unchanged at 1.75%, marking a pause in its campaign against inflation, which has recently ebbed lower in Switzerland. This is the first time since March 2022 that the SNB has not raised its rate, ending a streak of five consecutive meetings with increases. The SNB's decision was announced at 3.30 AM ET.


Similarly, the Bank of England concluded its tightening cycle with a final quarter-point rate hike, lifting the bank rate to 5.5% in a three-way split vote. The announcement was made at 7.00 AM ET. This decision was widely expected by markets due to the slowing inflation in the UK.


In addition to these major central banks, Sweden's Riksbank and Norway's Norges Bank also announced their monetary policy decisions on Thursday. Both banks were forecasted to raise their key interest rates by 25 basis points, with their decisions released at 3.30 am ET and 4.00 AM ET respectively.


On the same day, several important economic reports were released. The Office for National Statistics in the UK released public sector finance data for August at 2.00 am ET, showing a forecasted widening of the budget deficit to GBP 9.8 billion from GBP 3.48 billion in July.


France's statistical office INSEE published monthly business sentiment survey data at 2.45 am ET, forecasting a rise in the business confidence index to 97 in September from 96 in August. Later, at 10.00 am ET, the European Commission was set to release euro area consumer sentiment survey data, with the confidence index forecasted to fall to -16.5 in September from -16.0 in August.


Source : Investing.com / September 21, 2023

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