BoE’s Saunders says neutral rate might be in 1.25-2.5% range

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FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians walk past the Bank of England in London

LONDON (Reuters) – Bank of England policymaker Michael Saunders said the neutral rate of interest – the level at which it neither stimulates nor restrains demand – might be somewhere in the range of 1.25% to 2.5%, higher than the current 1.0% level of Bank Rate.

Saunders, replying to questions after delivering a speech at the Resolution Foundation think tank on Monday, said financial markets were pricing that kind of range for Bank Rate over the next five years.

“I’m inclined to think that a neutral interest rate, taking the signal from financial markets – I don’t want to endorse it too strongly – that is consistent with the idea that a neutral interest rate is somewhere in that range,” he said.

Saunders and two other members of the BoE’s nine-strong Monetary Policy Committee voted to raise Bank Rate from 0.75% to 1.25% last week. But a majority of six members backed a smaller rise to 1.0%.

(Reporting by David Milliken; writing by William Schomberg)