Andrew Haldane is a front-foot proponent of back-foot play.
What he said:
“Three months on, it is time to update the batting averages. Ian Bell’s batting average has remained at 45 – the front foot recovery has remained on track. But over the same period, Joe Root’s has risen to 51. Cricket statisticians and financial markets are agreed. While still a close run thing, the statistics now appear to favour the back foot.”
Andrew Haldane, chief economist of the Bank of England, appears to obfuscate while outlining the UK’s monetary policy outlook for the coming year.
“In June, when evaluating the UK’s monetary stance, I used the metaphor of a batsmen in cricket deciding whether to play off the front foot (raise rates) or the back foot (hold rates). And I compared the averages of two English batsmen, one who played from the front foot (Ian Bell), the other from the back (Joe Root), to illustrate the dilemma. At the time, Ian Bell averaged 45 to Joe Root’s 43. In other words, while it was a close run thing, the data narrowly favoured the front foot. Cricketing statistics are not the sole basis for my views on the appropriate stance for UK monetary policy. Nonetheless, on balance, I felt the same front-foot judgement was appropriate for UK interest rates at the time.”
“On balance, my judgement on the macro-economy has shifted the same way. I have tended to view the economy through a bi-modal lens. And recent evidence, in the UK and globally, has shifted my probability distribution towards the lower tail. Put in rather plainer English, I am gloomier. That reflects the mark-down in global growth, heightened geo-political and financial risks and the weak pipeline of inflationary pressures from wages internally and commodity prices externally. Taken together, this implies interest rates could remain lower for longer, certainly than I had expected three months ago, without endangering the inflation target.”
What he really meant:
“I follow cricket and its related statistics with as much interest as the economy. Maybe, it will help enliven my dry speech and perhaps have you wondering what in heavens am I meandering about so much so that you will ignore the gravity of the message conveyed. You see, I’m on the defensive and can only hope (unlike Joe Root) that things will work out for the British economy from here. This way I can backtrack on whatever I say should things turn worse and if things get better, it’ll simply be a case of ‘I told you so, didn’t I?'”
What he definitely didn’t:
“I’ll be catching up on the cricket this winter and next summer. Haven’t you received my memo? My arm-chair coaching should certainly help England regain the Ashes.”