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Home > News and Publications > Conditioning path for market interest rates

Conditioning path for market interest rates

The projections for CPI inflation and GDP growth published in the Inflation Report are conditioned on a benchmark path for Bank Rate implied by certain financial market instruments. The MPC may change the way it estimates the conditioning path from time to time, since shifting market conditions can alter the relative advantages of using different methods, but the source used is always clearly stated in each Inflation Report. This page explains how the MPC has derived the conditioning path for market interest rates used in recent Inflation Reports.

From November 2004 to August 2007, the conditioning path was derived from overnight forward rates from the 'commercial bank liability curve' ( BLC ) * . The MPC has typically chosen to average these forward rates over the fifteen days up to and including the data cut-off for the Inflation Report ** . The BLC is estimated from instruments that settle on the London interbank offered rate (Libor): interbank loans; short-term interest rate futures contracts; Forward Rate Agreements and interest rate swaps. ***

Since Libor rates contain a premium to compensate investors for the risk of commercial bank default, an adjustment has been applied to the BLC to account for credit risk premia when it has been used as the basis of the conditioning path for Bank Rate. This adjustment has been based on recent historical spreads between Libor rates and those on collateralised interbank loans (General Collateral (GC) repo rates). It has varied with maturity up to the twelve-month horizon, after which it has been held constant. A further adjustment has been applied to account for the recent average spread of the overnight GC repo rate relative to Bank Rate; this second adjustment has been held constant across all horizons.

Between November 2007 and May 2009, different financial market instruments were used to derive a conditioning path at maturities up to one year, on account of the rise in credit and liquidity premia in short-maturity Libor rates. **** Until May 2008, the MPC used an overnight forward curve derived from GC repo rates - adjusted to account for the typical spreads between the relevant overnight rate and Bank Rate. Between August 2008 and May 2009, overnight forward rates derived from Overnight Index Swaps (OIS) - also adjusted to account for the typical spreads between the relevant overnight rate and Bank Rate - were used, which reflected the growing liquidity in the markets for those contracts. But the BLC (adjusted for credit and liquidity risk premia) continued to be used at longer maturities.

Since the August 2009 Report, the market interest rate conditioning path has been based exclusively on forward rates derived from OIS, given continued improvements in liquidity in OIS markets.

The spreadsheet below contains the market profiles used to condition the published projections since the November 2004 Inflation Report.

Market profiles

* A curve estimated from government bonds was used as the basis of the conditioning path in Inflation Reports prior to November 2004.

** A five-day averaging window was used for the August 2007 Report.

*** Further details on how the BLC is estimated are available from the Bank's yield curves webpage.

**** Further details are provided in the Box on page 12 of the November 2007 Report.