The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
UK markets, like the Roman god Janus, have two faces. A week on from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, equity markets present a view that things won’t be too much worse than the past. Falling government bond yields point to a bleaker future. The pessimistic thesis has more going for it.
Forecasts for when the Bank of England will raise rates have been put off into the future for the seventh time since Mark Carney became Bank of England Governor nearly three years ago.
At this stage, it is hard to quantify how a planned referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union is impacting investor sentiment and the outlook for business investment. But there is little doubt it will influence the timing of the Bank of England's first interest rate hike in nearly a decade and how sterling trades this year.
British banks survived the Bank of England’s 2015 stress tests largely unscathed, but the assessment published earlier this month also underscored the vulnerability of the UK banking system to China.
So much for forward guidance. The largest proportion of Britons on record -- almost a quarter -- have "no idea" where interest rates are heading over the next 12 months, according to the Bank of England's quarterly survey of the public's views on the economy.
Not long ago, the big debate was over who would raise rates first, the U.S. Federal Reserve or the Bank of England. Now with the Fed giving clear signals it's on the brink of hiking and the BoE appearing to be pushing that day further off into the future, one could naturally conclude that the inflation outlook in both economies is vastly different.