Super Thursday of Economic Data

From today, Thursday 6th August, the monthly interest rate decision and the minutes from the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will be released without the fortnightly gap as previously observed.

These two information releases are key indicators for the health of the economy. Every three months Super Thursday will also coincide with the release of the Bank’s quarterly inflation report.

Today the Bank of England is releasing these three core items of economic data:

–         A decision on interest rate levels in the UK

–         The minutes of the MPC

–         The Bank’s quarterly inflation report

As Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, says the alignment of these announcements should increase transparency and make the bank more accountable. 

The changes follow from the results of a report by Governor Kevin Warsh (former member of the Federal Reserve System). He said that the members of the MPC found themselves in a difficult position in the two weeks between the policy meetings and the release of minutes. The triple announcement should reduce the ‘blizzard of communications’.

Some commentators have suggested the triple announcement, dubbed Super Thursday, is overkill. They suggest that rather than increasing clarity, the attention will be unfairly split and the Inflation Report could be ignored.

Additionally, there is criticism of the ‘data dump’; there are concerns that the Bank’s thinking will not be sufficiently scrutinised and the MPC minutes could be rushed.

Previously the MPC meeting’s minutes were drafted over the two week interval, however, now they will be published in 18 hours. This has caused some strong reactions with financial figures who are worried the minutes will lack detail.

With regards to the contents of the MPC’s meeting, it is expected there will be a split over increasing the interest rate. Some predictions suggest two or three members will vote in favour of a rise.

Other reports suggest that the rise will not be enacted until early next year, perhaps February. Mark Carney has strongly hinted that a rise would come into ‘sharper focus’ over winter, with the rates slowly rising.