Central banks always have responsibility to keep a stable economy which includes stable prices, low inflation rate and confidence in the local economy. The main tool used by central banks for these propose is monetary policy which will influence the interest rate, and the way of conduct it varies from country to country. This essay will look into the Bank of England and explain the transmission of monetary policy and how the policy affected by the credit crunch.
The Bank of England gained its independent right to set up interest rate according to the target inflation rate since May 1997. The preferred target inflation rate in the United Kingdom is 2% and the Bank of England sets appropriate interest rate to ensure the real inflation rate is moving towards the target inflation rate in an acceptable time period. However, the fixed target inflation rate does not necessary mean a constant interest rate. An Overview of the change of interest rate in UK banks from 1973 to 2009, from which a fluctuate trend could be observed among the whole period and there was a sharply decrease from nearly 15% to 5% during 1989 to 1993 when the United Kingdom was experiencing an economy recession. After 1993, the interest rate was relatively stable until 2008. However, between 2008 and 2009 the interest rate deeply drops from 5.25% to 0.5% for the recent credit crunch. From the data from the Bank of England's report, the interest rate decreased at a rate of 1% per month constantly from October 2008 to January 2009 after the Lehman Brother's bankrupt.
It is well known that a low interest rate represents a loose monetary policy which is aim to increase the inflation rate and the economy. It may illustrate how the interest rate set by the Bank of England conduct the monetary policy. The official rate set by the Bank of England direct influence the market rates includes the repo rate, bond rate, inner bank borrowing rate and so on. Then the market rate sets the asset prices in the financial market which will in turn affects people's expectations of the economy. Also, the official rates would give people the signal about how will the market moves. For instance, a decrease in official rate will shows a loose monetary policy to the public and people would expect a rise in the price level and then may increase their domestic consuming demand. In addition, the official rate change will affect the exchange rate directly for it alters the domestic investment rate.(Mishkin, 2006).
At the second stage, the official rate indirectly affects the domestic demand and net external demand, which forms the total demand, via the market rates, asset prices, expectations and exchange rate. Then the total demand influences the domestic inflation rate. Finally, the domestic inflation and import prices decide the inflation. For example, as mentioned above, a decrease interest rate will increase the public's domestic demand and also would decrease the exchange rate against foreign currencies which may consequently increase the export demand for the goods will be cheaper for foreign consumers. As a result, the total demand will increase and may eventually raise the price level and lead to an increase in inflation rate.
Timing effect is another factor that the Bank of England concerns for the monetary policy. That is to say, the effects of changing interest rate are not instantly but take time to fully function. Some channels may be more sensitive to the change while others may not. The Bank of England estimates that a monetary policy may takes up to 2 years to be fully influence the inflation rate. The past statistic data supports this view that the inflation rate was nearly 2.3% in 2007 and increased to 2.9% in March 2009 during which period a sharp decrease in interest rate could be observed.
The reason for this sharp decline of interest rate from 2008 to 2009 is mainly accounts for the credit crunch recently. The credit