The Bank of England’s Knockout Artist

These are heady times at the Bank of England: Out has gone the fusty old inflation-targeting regime, and in has come a brave new world of “state-contingent threshold-based forward guidance,” complete with three conditional “knockouts” that would cause the guidance to be changed. Can the BoE's new governor avoid punching himself out?

LONDON – In Canada, if you say you come from London, the natives often ask if you mean London, Ontario, or London, England. I always find the question somewhat irritating, perhaps revealing the persistence of an arrogant imperial mindset.

But soon, perhaps, they will no longer need to ask: in London, we are all Canadians now. With what one commentator described as “his rock star looks and PR charm,” Mark Carney, the former governor of the Bank of Canada, has taken the city by storm in his first weeks as Governor of the Bank of England.

Change is the order of the day at the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street. Out goes the fusty old inflation-targeting regime, with its fixation on the consumer price index and disregard for financial-sector imbalances. In comes a brave new world of “state-contingent threshold-based forward guidance,” complete with three conditional “knockouts” that would cause the guidance to be changed. We have had to learn a whole new lexicon of central-bank speak. These are heady times at the BoE (in the heart of the financial district of Ontario-on-Thames).

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.


Log in;
  1. An employee works at a chemical fiber weaving company VCG/Getty Images

    China in the Lead?

    For four decades, China has achieved unprecedented economic growth under a centralized, authoritarian political system, far outpacing growth in the Western liberal democracies. So, is Chinese President Xi Jinping right to double down on authoritarianism, and is the “China model” truly a viable rival to Western-style democratic capitalism?

  2. The assembly line at Ford Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

    Whither the Multilateral Trading System?

    The global economy today is dominated by three major players – China, the EU, and the US – with roughly equal trading volumes and limited incentive to fight for the rules-based global trading system. With cooperation unlikely, the world should prepare itself for the erosion of the World Trade Organization.

  3. Donald Trump Saul Loeb/Getty Images

    The Globalization of Our Discontent

    Globalization, which was supposed to benefit developed and developing countries alike, is now reviled almost everywhere, as the political backlash in Europe and the US has shown. The challenge is to minimize the risk that the backlash will intensify, and that starts by understanding – and avoiding – past mistakes.

  4. A general view of the Corn Market in the City of Manchester Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

    A Better British Story

    Despite all of the doom and gloom over the United Kingdom's impending withdrawal from the European Union, key manufacturing indicators are at their highest levels in four years, and the mood for investment may be improving. While parts of the UK are certainly weakening economically, others may finally be overcoming longstanding challenges.

  5. UK supermarket Waring Abbott/Getty Images

    The UK’s Multilateral Trade Future

    With Brexit looming, the UK has no choice but to redesign its future trading relationships. As a major producer of sophisticated components, its long-term trade strategy should focus on gaining deep and unfettered access to integrated cross-border supply chains – and that means adopting a multilateral approach.

  6. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now