For an unreliable boyfriend like Mark Carney sorry is indeed the hardest word

There is much to consider today on the UK’s economic data releases but first there were some important messages from yesterday’s Bank of England Inflation Report. The first clear message was that “turn of the year” for an interest rate rates has morphed into this.

Prudent to expect a rate rise in 2016 (with the implication that it is now late 2016)

This was in line with the inflation forecasts for early 2016 which had already been spotted. Even the usually supine Robert Peston of the BBC who until now has followed the establishment line hook line and sinker has responded thus.

Mark Carney gave what many would see as a bum steer in July that interest rates would be going up around the turn of the year.

When asked about such matters at the press conference Mark Carney replied that it was not an occasion to discuss his own personal views! Regular readers will be aware that he has been promising a Bank Rate rise “sooner than markets expect” since June 2014.

The demise of Forward Guidance

Governor Carney became so under pressure he did not seem to realise that as well as announcing somewhere around Forward Guidance 7.0 he in fact admitted it did not exist.

no central bank governor knows what it is going to do at its next meeting

I doubt whether we are going to get a clearer admittal of it being an emperor with no clothes although of course readers on here knew that ages ago. Also as he got rattled he appeared to miss that he was directly contradicting Janet Yellen of the US Federal Reserve who had just raised expectations of a US interest-rate rise and Mario Draghi who has been raising expectations of an ECB deposit-rate cut recently. There may be some fun when Mark Carney meets them at the weekend. What is the international soiree equivalent of the naughty step?

A further development

Yesterday went so badly for Mark Carney that he frequently brought his colleagues into play as a way of buying time and passing the buck. Deputy Governor Minouche Shafik has also been on Radio 4 Today to push the party line and also fulfil my point that she is a Carney crony. Indeed she has also fulfilled my point as being intellectually limited as her effort to tell us that interest-rates will go up turned into this being discussed.

so rates could go down further and you could have more QE if necessary….

She also tried to claim that household borrowing was falling ( a Carney line) when in fact it is rising. On and I guess predictably she is a fan of macroprudential policy for controlling house prices and pointed out that it started the summer before last although she appears to have missed how it is going. From Bloomberg.

The average cost of a home gained 1.1 percent from the previous month to 205,240 pounds ($315,761), the Halifax said in a statement on Thursday. From a year earlier, prices rose 10 percent, while they advanced 2.8 percent in the quarter through October.

Indeed nobody seems to have told Dame Shafik about the way that the Funding for Lending Scheme reduced mortgage rates from the summer of 2012 onwards.

Interest-rates shouldn’t be used to deal with problems in the housing market.

Mark Carney is the new Mervyn King

As I observe the fact that the UK Pound £ is now below US $1.52 and is below 1.40 versus the Euro it reminded me of the way that the former Governor Mervyn King used to talk it down. Is this now Forward Guidance 8.0?

QE

We had an affirmation of perhaps the stupidest part of UK monetary policy as well yesterday. This was that the size of UK QE (Quantitative Easing) would remain at £375 billion until Bank Rate reaches 2% (although I note that they might change the 2%, higher or lower?).

This is stupid on several fronts.

Why commit yourself when later on you might need the flexibility?

It is in fact the easiest way of tightening policy gently as I have been arguing for over 2 years now.

If you set out to guarantee making a loss from QE this is how to do it.

In such an environment the UK government’s funding may be difficult and the Gilt market disturbed, so you add an extra £375 billion of sales. What could go wrong?

Putting it another way this looks like a road where this is genuinely “To Infinity. And Beyond!”

UK Production

This was a troubling data release and what is happening here may have had an influence on our dedicated follower of fashion Mark Carney.

Total production output is estimated to have increased by 1.1% in September 2015 compared with September 2014.

Already this is a fair bit below our rate of economic growth but let me add in another nuance.

with mining & quarrying output being the largest contributor, increasing by 8.6%.

That means that in effect North Sea Oil & Gas represents some 1.11% of the 1.1% rise or otherwise we have been on a road to nowhere. Now we know (because I asked) that a lot of the rise in oil and gas output is due to maintenance last year and therefore unlikely to be repeated. Some of this was evident in the September number which fell by 0.2% compared to August as the Oil & Gas boom faded.

Briefly we have some hope for “rebalancing” and the “march of the makers”

when comparing September 2015 with August 2015, manufacturing is estimated to have increased by 0.8%, the largest monthly rise since April 2014.

If we add this to the strong purchasing managers survey for October there is some hope going forwards. Good as if we look backwards it is sorely needed.

Manufacturing output decreased by 0.6% in September 2015 compared with September 2014. The largest contribution to the decrease came from the manufacture of machinery & equipment not elsewhere classified, which decreased by 13.7%.

Steel production

It would appear that the only group of people in the UK who have been unaware of the crisis in this area are our official statisticians.

following the receipt of actual data to replace estimates in the manufacture of basic iron & steel…..Anecdotal evidence cited the closure of steelworks as a contributing factor to the decrease this quarter

This is odd if you note this from Noble Francis who replied to me on twitter about this.

Curious ONS cites ‘anecdotal evidence’ when data exist for UK monthly steel production.

In case you are wondering about the numbers they are -23.8% if we compare September to August.

I do not want to be too hard on the individual statisticians who I am sure do their best. But the UK ONS is plainly struggling as the list of problems builds.

Trade

There were some who forecast a new dawn on the basis of some improved numbers earlier this year, such as the Bank of England for example. How is that going?

in quarter 3 (July to September) 2015, the UK’s deficit on trade in goods and services was estimated to have been £8.5 billion; widening by £5.1 billion when compared with quarter 2 (April to June) 2015.

Comment

It was a while ago now that Mark Carney was accused of being like an “unreliable boyfriend” by Pat McFadden on the Treasury Select Committee.

one day hot, one day cold, and the people on the other side of the message are left not really knowing where they stand.

If we fast forwards a year and a bit we are in exactly the same situation with one difference that we now know he sees nothing wrong in this. Along the way he seems to be morphing into his predecessor Mervyn King who probably had more than a wry smile at yesterday’s events. However those who have remortgaged on the back of Mark Carney’s hints and promises may well have Elton John on repeat.

It’s sad, so sad
It’s a sad, sad situation
And it’s getting more and more absurd

It’s sad, so sad
Why can’t we talk it over?
Oh, it seems to me
That sorry seems to be the hardest word

For a musical choice Mark Carney could sing along to Outkast.

I’m sorry Ms. Jackson (oh)
I am for real
Never meant to make your daughter cry
I apologize a trillion times
I’m sorry Ms. Jackson (oh)
I am for real
Never meant to make your daughter cry
I apologize a trillion times

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34 thoughts on “For an unreliable boyfriend like Mark Carney sorry is indeed the hardest word

  1. Hi Shaun

    It seems to me that MC did not read “Central Banking for Dummies” before he came here. If he had he would have read that rule one for central bankers is to speak little and say even less, a rule that his distant predecessors followed quite well.

    With regard to his statement that central bankers don’t know what they will do at the next meeting may be literally true but it is in fact rather foolish, as you imply.

    Economic statistics can indicate one thing and that is the direction of travel. Even if their basis is questionable as long as they are compiled on a consistent basis they do give notice of trends over a period of months. At the moment the trends are softening in a number of areas, not only here but almost everywhere else, and to give the impression that interest rates were going to increase in these circumstances is to give a rather large hostage to fortune to say the least.

    The only reasonable qualification to the above would be if sterling were falling sharply, which would presage inflation in the not too distant future. As this is not the case it leaves MC looking foolish, as you imply.

    As the total debt burden ratchets up month by month and the higher interest rates become ever more unaffordable to the economy as a whole then, as I see it, the only way they will increase is if there is a large fall in the value of sterling.

    • ‘As the total debt burden ratchets up month by month and the higher interest rates become ever more unaffordable to the economy as a whole then, as I see it, the only way they will increase is if there is a large fall in the value of sterling.’

      Nail head hit Bob.

      I just can’t foresee a situation where they’ll be able to engineer the sort of inflation they need to justify a rate rise.

      The much more likely scenario is that at some point, sterling plummets and then off we’ll go to the races with Gordon Brown being trotted out to go on TV and talk about a ‘global crisis’,’no one could have seen this coming’ etc etc.

      As you allude,many households are now so indebted that it’ll only take a small rise in rates and the high street banks will start taking losses and reigning in new lending.On this point,it’d be interesting to know in which age groups household debts predominate.I suspect it’ll be in working age households,<40 years of age.The very households that are expected to do the bulk of the heavy lifting when it comes to the fiscal deficits we run.

      • I” just can’t foresee a situation where they’ll be able to engineer the sort of inflation they need to justify a rate rise.” We’re already in it Dutch, money supply is growing too fast unless velocity makes another sharp reduction, which is why they need to start raising rates NOW. Otherwise see what the UK inflation landscape looks like in 2017.

    • Hi Bob J

      I just wanted to add on the subject of the UK Pound £ that the talking down of it reduced the effective exchange rate by the equivalent of a Bank Rate cut of 0.2%. We do not know how long that will last of course but it was then reinforced by a strong US employment report leaving the UK Pound £ around 3.5 cents lower than when the Inflation Report was released.

      Carney will be flying to his international soiree thinking of yet another U-Turn.

  2. MC saying this is a “personal view” as we know is absolute nonsense, he is head of the BofE or has he forgotten (maybe he wants to forget)! We all knew about the problems in China and the outlook for the world economy in general,, months ago. To say this has changed his mind on interest rates from his July position, shows how poor his judgement and guidance is. His future, brings to mind Peter, Paul and Mary.
    ” Oh, I’m leaving on a jet plane,
    don’t know when I’ll be back again”

  3. I knew it.
    You knew.
    We all knew it, who frequent this blog.
    I’m a carer who was a skilled blue-collar worker, and if it’s that obvious to me, then you people who are professionals in the field must have laughed at his pronouncements.
    Time for a new entry in your financial lexicon, Shaun; “Forward-Guidance” = Central bankers’ fantasy.

    Mark Carney owes me no apology; I wasn’t deceived by him for a second.

    I sincerely doubt that there will be a rise in 2016. The banks are still bust.

    Thank you again Shaun for your blog; the standard doesn’t drop.

    • Hi therrawbuzzin

      Thank you. Meanwhile there has been no shortage of “experts” and media lackeys willing to parrot the Bank of England line. If I had remortgaged following all that spinning ( if only our cricket team had a spinner like that..) I would feel that I had been misled.

      Also after the US employment report we might be wondering when the next U-Turn is coming….

  4. Yes Shaun, top work as always

    The stream of lies and obfuscation is relentless, either you believe these people are complete buffoons and guilty of astounding incompetence or they are lying deceitful corrupt purveyors of crony capitalism. Astonishingly though there is another constituency who are truly convinced that this government, alongside their acolytes in finance etc, are actually orchestrating a transformation in the country’s fortunes…..that maybe true for about 5% of population

    • ‘either you believe these people are complete buffoons and guilty of astounding incompetence or they are lying deceitful corrupt purveyors of crony capitalism.’

      It’s one or the other Seasiders.I’m not sure there’s a third option any more

  5. How soon can anyone imagine us getting inflation back to 2%, the self-stated raison d’etre of the CB? If all they do is sit and wait for things to change – a temporary situation, they call it, that appears to be stretching into years/decades – then what do they do all day in Threadneedle St? Good news always put the pressure on them to lift rates – US jobs report today – but is invariably dampened down with some gloomy counter-report to permit delay. Is it possible that the US really is having some kind of recovery, unlike the ersatz Brit one? If so, and they do lift rates in December, how will the first whispers of the end of cheap money test the UK consumer?

    • Hi Peter

      The UK is an institutionalised inflation nation so I am not too bothered about us getting back to 2% inflation. Last week the National Grid shambles showed a road where we might pay higher domestic energy prices in a cold calm winter which would be quite something if you look at oil and gas prices! Meanwhile services inflation (nearly 80% of the economy) is just above target. So if oil remains around here inflation will tick back up again. An irony isn’t it that policy is set to make us worse off? Very Orwellian.

      As the current risk of slow down that is a danger to what I wrote above but as to US versus UK if you look at labour market participation you would argue we are doing better than the US.

  6. It’s funny Shaun

    But I seem to remember that interest rates in the 1990’s actually pushed up inflation as it put mortgages up. As I think we’ve stopped measuring that , or maybe, just maybe, they put the + to a – and if they push rates up now it gets measured as a minus ? hmm.

    I think the trouble is the HMG never defined really what MC goals actually were

    ok there was some faffing about inflation rates but BoE was never in control of that anyway – its all out side ( well apart from wages , which I have said before is the inflation rate they are actually watching – not their own of course – thats just pension rights 😉 ) influences

    So question “we would like to put up interest rates because we can’t have a long emergency
    but
    “are the Banks still bust ? ”

    “yes ”

    ” hmm, we’ll wait until they are not ”

    <>

    Forbin

    PS: For doing a superb “Wally” ( dilbert) I think MC needs a medal ( but he’ll have to do with a multi-million pound pension pot instead )

    • If a bank was solvent, and it admitted as much, it would lose all sorts of lucrative subsidies. Playing poker vs other banks is a zero sum game whereas milking the taxpayer is a game all the banks can win, even the incompetent …. They have zero motive to become officially solvent.

      Or to put it another way, aristocrats get a knighthood for banking services by taking billions of taxpayer money and plebs get jailed if they overclaim benefits by 50 or 100 quid per month.

      • I assume you mean “insolvent”. However, if a bank is insolvent then it would have to be wound up and the directors may be subject to civil penalties. In the US the Dodd Frank rules concerning “mark to market” have been suspended which leaves the banks a degree of freedom to hide their insolvency, which I do not doubt for a moment.

        • Britain has a banking nomenklatura which thrive on corporate socialism.

          RBS’s repeated losses should demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that RBS is broke. The rules of capitalism that dictate winding up of insolvent companies have been ignored by British politicians and the bankster nomenklatura. The 99% are poorer as a result of this deviation from capitalism.

  7. Hi Shaun
    Like you I read the Peston and Shafik pieces this morning, the
    purpose of the MPC seems to be akin to Monty Pythons Judean Peoples
    Front, namely much discussion followed by glorious inaction.
    What about the dichotomy that is our MPC and the FED, if
    the latter do raise rates,even by a small fraction of a percent the
    dollars rise would “go vertical,” those holding commodities would
    make a fast buck, pardon the pun. and it follows that this would be an
    inflationary disaster for most future costings. But,and it’s a big but,
    if other CB’s follow suit and raise their rates to smooth things out
    it would mean higher borrowing costs for one and all, but we can’t
    have that, can we? Confused’ you will be!

    Chris Rea

    On your journey cross the wilderness
    From the desert to the well
    You have strayed upon the motorway to hell.

    JRH

    • Hi JRH

      If the decision was one the US Federal Reserve was really set on it would have made it already. After all according to the consensus from earlier this year should we not now be debating the second US interest-rate rise? By dithering they have made the position worse.

      Yesterday’s numbers were strong with payroll gains of 271k and some upwards revisions plus hourly wages rising by 2.5% on a year ago. Also the measure of underemployment or U-6 dropped to 9.8%. But what happens should we now get some weaker numbers?

      Oh and the Peston reference to a Jedi Council was amusing as I meet a group of economists/traders regularly and as one of us is a big Star Wars fan that it what we have called it. Partly fun but I was intrigued by the Peston reference as you see someone at the Jedi Council has been pointing out that similar places like Sweden have been cutting interest-rates….. 😦

  8. Hi Shaun, it seems to me Shafik is merely talking about the BOE firepower that can be utilised. I suspect she’s inadvertently let slip that the BOE is looking at the other CB’s deciding what it can do if it has to in order to defend the GBP as the CB’s of the world continue their race to the bottom with currency debasement.

    I completely agree with her that interest rate policy is inappropriate in solving excessive house prices in the UK as it is far too blunt an instrument. You may remember the late 80’s/early 90’s debacle of “correct” (imo) bank rate in ’87 follwed by “extremely stupid” (imo) rates in ’88 thru ’90 (I think). Remember those times? 14% plus at it’s height to solve an overheating housing market and economy that was a bit hot resulting in what I predicted in ’88 – an almighty bust in 90/91 which took the UK about 3 – 4 years to recover from.

    Complete proof of the bluntness of monetary policy. They used a sledgehammer to crack the walnut that was the overheating Housing market.

    Happily, it looks like they have learned from past stupendously immense mistakes. The macro toolkit of reduced LTV ratios combined with reduced LTI ratios would dampen down house price inflation very well. This approach would also slow down those with wealthy parents who simply gift large amounts of cash to their offspring to overcome large deposit requirements whilst those same parents could not overcome tightened LTI ratios, especially when combined with tight definitions of “regular income”.

    • ” The macro toolkit of reduced LTV ratios combined with reduced LTI ratios would dampen down house price inflation ”

      considering the only real wealth “creation” we can do is housing and the Banks are still insolvant

      Not gonna happen , is it ?

      Forbin

      • Nope, I’m just talking about what should happen. What will happen is that obfuscation and delay tactics will continue (unless Shafik gets her way) until another “unexpected” housing crash arrives that “Nobody could have foreseen” excepting the majority of posters on here.

        Only this time (which could be some years away – don’t underestimate the establishment’s ingenuity in coming up with new wheezes) the crash will take everything and it will be life as we have never seen it and I don’t mean that in a good way.

    • Hi Noo2

      You have forgotten the shadowing the the German DM and the joining of the ERM. I still recall wondering what was going on about the ERM joining as you see at that point I was working in Tokyo and in those days little such news travelled across a weekend.

      As to interest-rates and the mortgage market they have used them to boost it vis the Funding for Lending Scheme lowering mortgage rates so can you explain why you think that the reverse would not be true please?

      As to macropru it was abandoned because it did not work. Things have of course changed in the mean times but as I look around I noted that in Sweden house prices rose again according to yesterdays official figures with some suburbs rising at 20% + . We have problems with house price rises here and of course now rising rents. So on that track record macropru is not working again.

      • Hi Shaun, yes I did forget about the ERM but imo that was another contributory, but not the main factor. I don’t think I said or implied that if FLS was abandoned interest rates would not rise. I was making no comment implied or otherwise about FLS (but did cover that off in a separate comment to Dutch above) I AM saying much more stringent Macropru should be adopted to provide a long term structural stability to house prices based upon wage levels.

        You have forgotten Macropru worked excellently.

        Let me explain, prior to about 87 or 88 a 3 bed semi cost about 3- 3.5x average salary, that was in the days when banks would only lend 2.5x salary to a single person and 3x the main salary along with 1-1.5x the secondary salary of a family unit.

        Then 2 MacroPru things happened in 88:

        1. The Government gave 6 months notice that Multiple Mortgage tax relief would no longer be able to be claimed on the same property – only 1 amount of Mortgage Interest relief at Source could be claimed in the future.

        2. The LTV and LTI ratios began to be relaxed on a gradual ongoing basis, so much so that by 90/91 I was hearing from my friends they were borrowing 5x their salary for house purchases and advances were being made within a couple of weeks of mortgage application which demonstrated a cavalier approach to confirming earnings (it took 6 weeks for my mortgage approval in 1989 as they queried my “normal earnings” refusing to count overtime payments or bonuses as “normal”). .

        This was also accompanied by a collapse in interest rates from the previous 14% rates and they were obtaining 80% LTV mortgages on the value of buildings and land (previously mortgagors would only lend 80% of the value of the buildings only.).

        Of course, the UK housing market was in the grips of another bust at this time (91 onwards) and that was probably why they abandoned MacroPru in a desperate attempt to reflate it, rather than allowing prices to stagnate whilst inflation caught up with the house price boom via wage rises (which was the correct action to take, again as I said at the time). The consequences of this relaxation/abandonment of MacroPru were that prices generally leapt up almost 50% and more than that for large houses by 1990 as people scrabbled to buy the biggest house they could afford with their partners in order to overcome the time bar mentioned at #1 whilst the efforts of#2 designed to support a bloated house price market led to a softish landing followed by another boom as wage increases marched forward.

        Further problems were then generated in the late 90’s/ early 2000’s as rates and checks on potential mortgagees ability to repay (MacroPru) fell ever lower until the sub prime crisis materialised (due to non existent MacroPru) liquidity seized up and rates had to be increased in an effort to scare up some liquidity resulting in more delinquent mortgages and culminating in the 2008 crash.

        The use of ever lower interest rates since 2008 has served to further increase house prices whilst MacroPru was non existent, the absence of which has created an immense risk factor in that as up until the introduction of the Mortgage Market Review (which does not go far enough in it’s measures) people could borrow as much as the banks would lend them resulting in loans of 5x and 6x earnings in some cases and leaving such mortgagees very vulnerable to the slightest increase in interest rates. This is why the BOE hesitates to increase rates and all this could have been avoided through the use of strong Macro Pru which worked well before it was abandoned in the late 80’s leading directly to immense house price increases and the silly price levels we see today..

    • You are assuming that the Dep-gov is being honest. She is not. Deflating the housing bubble will take down a lot of banks which are solvent on paper only because they have huge “assets” in the forms of mortgages on over-priced houses. We are in a period of institutional collapse where individuals, knowing that the ship is sinking, are concerned only with their personal well-being rather than that of the institutions. No one knows how to solve the crisis, and by and large they have given up trying anything other than making sure that they, personally, have an exit plan (e.g., moving back to Canada and pursuing a political career).

      To say that the housing bubble is a walnut is madness – it is the biggest economic problem we have at the moment, if you believe that economics is concerned with making people’s lives better.

      • Hi TW, I am not commenting on Shafiq’s motivations for the action she recommends, simply that it is the correct course of action regardless of her underlying motivations which I wouldn’t begin to guess at. I am not recommending a deflation of the housing bubble but an engineered price freeze via MacroPru to give wage levels a chance to catch up (probably take 20 – 30 years so “temporary” in establishment parlance)

        The housing market crisis to which I referred was phrased in the past tense:

        “They used a sledgehammer to crack the walnut that was the overheating Housing market.” i.e. the developing crisis in the late 80’s was indeed a walnut had it been caught when it was developing and ameliorated with increased MacroPru. I agree the current housing crisis is much much worse and has the capacity to take the banks and via the banks the Government and of course the economy with it as I alluded to in my response to Shaun above where I say:

        “…leaving such mortgagees very vulnerable to the slightest increase in interest rates. This is why the BOE hesitates to increase rates “

      • This is the ONLY reason house prices are being supported.
        Have you forgotten what happened in previous recessions?
        TPTB didn’t give a flying monkey’s fig what happened to Joe Soap.
        Well, TPTB haven’t changed (David Camel Toe is bro-in-law to Viscount Astor) and neither has its morality.

        Do you really think that a govt which would force disabled people out of their home because they use a “bedroom” for their equipment, cares about the plight of mortgage payers?

        • “Do you really think that a govt which would force disabled people out of their home because they use a “bedroom” for their equipment, cares about the plight of mortgage payers?”

          Well, yes, in a word but not through altruism, more because they saw what happened last time around (1988 – 1990 ish) when rates shot up, followed by defaults and repossessions (70,000 pa at it’s height)/ resulting in over a million adults and children having to be rehoused at Government expense and of course a crashed economy as the blunt instrument of monetary policy vastly pushed up debt service costs for businesses forcing many into liquidation with the resultant increase in unemployment. All of which cost the Government extra money in housing benefit and social security payments, not to mention the lost tax and national insurance revenues. Cash talks…….

  9. Great column, as usual, Shaun. I love the unreliable boyfriend reference.
    During the press conference on Thursday Governor Carney said: “When we first had the big move in global commodity prices, the assessment was largely based on so-called base effects. You had, you know, one-time fall in food and energy prices. Those would wash out through CPI in roughly a year.” At the risk of being pedantic, Mark Carney introduced a very unhelpful Canadianism into the discussion, which I hope does not gain the currency in the UK that it has attained in Canada. As far as I know, the whole base effect terminology started with a Statistics Canada Daily release in November 2002, reporting on the October 2002 CPI update. It was necessary to explain a big increase in the annual inflation rate from 2.3% in September 2002 to 3.2% in October 2002. This was due largely to the 0.5% monthly decline in October 2001 exiting the annual inflation rate. That monthly decline was largely an artifact of the September 2001 Islamist terrorist atrocities and the declines in gasoline and other prices that occurred in its wake. There was a decline in the base for calculating the October 2002 inflation rate from September 2002, and it was of course, a decline of 0.5%, but it was faux erudition to speak of a base effect. StatCan should have called a spade a spade and just talked about the exit effect of the October 2002 monthly decline leaving the inflation rate where it had been for the last 12 months. Unfortunately this term has taken such hold here in Canada it seems that it will take a long time to kill it off; I hope that it doesn’t catch on in the UK.
    This happened under Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge (or Bank of Canada Chair as Justin Trudeau would call him), Mark Carney’s mentor. Mr. Carney was still working for Goldman Sachs at the time. If he didn’t notice the use of the term “base effect” then, he would have plenty of opportunity to become drearily familiar with it thereafter.
    By the way, there is nothing remotely resembling the sophisticated analysis of changes in the annual inflation rate in StatCan releases that there is in ONS releases. The ONS comes in for a lot of criticism, but it does do some things much better than most other statistical agencies.

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