Broadbent drops no clues over intentions

NEW Bank of England interest rate setter Ben Broadbent left analysts none the wiser over his voting intentions yesterday, in a cautious testimony to the Treasury Select Committee.

The former Goldman Sachs economist told the committee he was “not entirely sure” how he would have voted this month, refusing to signal any leaning towards a rate hike.

“I really don’t know,” Broadbent said. “I’ve not followed all the numbers.”

“He appeared to downplay the need for immediate policy tightening,” commented Simon Hayes, economist at Barclays Capital.

“His testimony emphasised downside risks to activity, a lack of concern about inflation expectations and confidence that inflation will fall back towards target,” Hayes concluded.

From June, Broadbent replaces the Bank’s chief hawk Andrew Sentance, who has led calls for a gradual normalisation of interest rates since last summer.