Today the Bank of England will publish the MPC decision and the minutes of the MPC meeting. The committee will almost certainly leave the monetary policy stance unchanged. We expect the vote to maintain the bank rate at its current level of 0.75% to be unanimous, as it was in November.

The major reason for the MPC’s wait-and-see position is that the UK economic and political outlook remains clouded in uncertainty over Brexit negotiations. The uncertainty has increased in recent weeks following the delay to the Commons vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

The macro data news since the MPC’s last meeting has been mixed but, on balance, mostly negative. Worryingly, there are signs that uncertainty is weighing more heavily on firms. Business surveys have softened materially – the composite PMI eased to 50.8 in November, its lowest level since the kneejerk slump in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote. It points to a quarterly growth rate of just 0.1-0.2%, suggesting downside risks to the BoE’s forecast for 0.3% qoq growth in the fourth quarter of 2018. The one (and arguably only) bright spot is that wage growth has firmed, with regular pay growth rising to 3.3% yoy – the highest pay growth since 2008 as the labor market tightens, in part because of a fall in EU net immigration.

We continue to expect the BoE to remain on hold until Brexit uncertainty lifts.

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