Chief economist of the Bank of England has described the new coronavirus variants ‘as a punch in the face’

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The chief economist of the Bank of England has described the new coronavirus variant as a ‘punch in the face’.

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Hu Pill, who joined the bank in September, said the latest tensions and further lockdowns would ‘clearly change our view of the world’.

Quoting former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, he said: ‘Everybody has a plan until you get punched in the face.’

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Concern: Economists have begun to speculate that fears surrounding the Omicron version could lead to further rate hikes.

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Pill’s remarks, given at an online talk organized by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), came as the discovery of a new version of Covid – named Omicron – panicked global markets.

The Bank of England was widely expected to raise interest rates from its record low ’emergency’ rate of 0.1 per cent in December, when rate-setters, including Pill, were at the next meeting.

There is increasing pressure on officials to cope with rising inflation, or rising costs of living. Rate hikes are often used as a tool to heat up prices, as they encourage homes and businesses to save rather than spend.

But economists have begun to speculate that fears surrounding the Omicron version could lead to a further rate hike, as bank officials wait and see if new lockdown restrictions are imposed or more about consumer spending. have become careful.

Pill said: ‘If there is a financial disruption, or if there is a pandemic and the start of a lockdown again, those are the types of events that will clearly change our view of the world. We really don’t know what the future holds.’

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