Bank of England lowers growth forecasts for UK GDP over export fears as monetary policy committee hawk Ian McCafferty changes vote

Catherine Neilan
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Container Ships Unload At Tilbury Port
UK exports are being hurt by a strong sterling and sluggish global growth (Source: Getty)
he Bank of England has cut its forecast for the UK's economic growth, as a backdrop of global headwinds and sterling's strength put pressure on exports.

GDP growth this year has been cut from 2.5 per cent in November to 2.2 per cent today. Forecasts for 2017 have also been dropped down from 2.7 per cent to 2.4 per cent.

The monetary policy committee, which this morning voted unanimously to keep rates at record lows of 0.5 per cent, noted that global growth was struggling in the face of "considerable falls in the prices of risky assets and another significant fall in oil prices".

The inflation report added: "Developments in financial markets seem in part to reflect greater weight being placed on the risks to the global outlook stemming from China and other emerging economies.

"Looking ahead, growth in the United Kingdom’s main trading partners should continue to be supported by the boost to real incomes from low commodity prices, and to some degree by monetary and fiscal policy. But emerging market economies are likely to grow more slowly than in recent years and the risks to the MPC’s central projections of only modest global growth lie to the downside."

Domestic growth was "resilient", however, with "robust" consumer confidence.

"GDP is expected to grow at around average rates over the forecast period as a tighter labour market and rising productivity support real incomes and consumption," the report added.

Ian McCafferty, who had been voting for an increase since August, unexpectedly voted for no change this month.

The inflation report also downgraded the Bank of England's expectations on wages.

The BoE now expects average weekly earnings to increase by three per cent this year, down from the 3.75 per cent it predicted three months ago.

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