Mark Carney: US interest rate hike 'contributory factor' to market turmoil


The Federal Reserve's decision to raise interest rates in the United States has been a "contributory factor" to the current market turmoil, Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said.

Giving evidence to the Commons Treasury Committee, Mr Carney said the Bank's financial policy committee (FPC) had always expected that the move last December to put up rates in the US for the first time in almost a decade would have implications for the wider global economy.

However he stressed that it was not the root cause of the current difficulties.

"It has long been the view of the FPC and myself personally that the start of the tightening of US monetary policy could lead to a tightening of global financial conditions, particularly for emerging economies, and could accelerate weakness, and we have seen some of that," he said.

"So it is a contributory factor to these developments. Their fundamental roots have a much longer genesis."

Mr Carney reaffirmed his view, set out in a keynote speech last week, that the conditions were not right for an interest rate rise in the UK.

"In my opinion we will have to see the renewal of growth above trend, we will have to see unit labour costs pick up," he said.

He strongly played down the prospects of a major banking failure as the result of the current turmoil, saying they were in a far stronger position than they were at the time of the crash of 2007-08.

"What is happening right now is sharp re-pricing of a wide range of assets, a change in expectations for the growth prospects of the largest continent in the world (Asia) with significant knock-on effects for the global economy, and sharp increases in financial market volatility," he said.

"What is not happening right now is any concern about distress at any of the major systemic financial institutions. That is the product of the reforms that have been undertaken."

Mr Carney said he would indicate by the end of the year whether he would seek an extension of his existing five-year term as governor - which he insisted upon when he took up the post in 2013 - to the full eight years he was originally offered.

"In fairness I would need to make a determination by the end of the year if I were to request to stay further," he said.