From Dr Richard Barwell and Prof Jagjit S. Chadha.
Sir, Quite rightly, the monetary policy committee is thinking about the pros and cons of revolutionising its communication strategy (“BoE swaps QE for market guidance”, July 18). The question of forward guidance, rather like an earlier debate about publication of interest rate forecasts, seems to us to be a rather difficult question. So why not start with a no-brainer in August?
Details of the MPC vote are clearly relevant information for financial markets, as they gauge the stance and path of policy, and yet the Bank continues to publish the vote in the formal minutes with a two-week delay, which leads to needless speculation and volatility. Because the vote is published alongside a discussion of the policy debate it also means that heightened interest in the former can crowd out serious discussion of the latter.
Assuming that such obfuscation is not the aim of the formal minutes, the Bank should simply publish the vote alongside the policy decision. Any concern that votes need to be put in context can be managed by publishing a short statement alongside the vote. There is no time like the present.
Richard Barwell, Dartford, Kent, UK
Jagjit S. Chadha, Chair in Banking and Finance, University of Kent, UK