By David Milliken
LONDON (Reuters) -Bank of England Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden said on Thursday that the rate at which the central bank reduces its holdings of government bonds was more likely to increase than decrease, as it unwinds its quantitative easing programme.
The BoE is currently reducing its government bond holdings by 80 billion pounds ($101 billion) per year, after buying 875 billion pounds of gilts to stimulate the economy between 2009 and 2021. The BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee will review the pace of this reduction in September.
“There’s potential for us to go up a little bit. I don’t see us going down given the experience of the first year (of quantitative tightening),” Ramsden, who oversees the BoE’s balance sheet, told lawmakers from parliament’s Treasury Committee.
The BoE’s reduces its holdings through a mix of outright sales and not reinvesting the proceeds of gilts which mature.
Asked how the BoE had decided to reduce gilt holdings at a rate of 80 billion pounds per year, Deputy Governor Ben Broadbent said active sales of around 10 billion pounds per quarter on top of around 10 billion pounds per quarter for naturally maturing gilts felt “about right”.
“Anything more than 100 (billion pounds per year), our markets people said that might risk disturbing market liquidity,” Broadbent said about last year’s decision to reduce gilt holdings during the 12 months to September 2023.
The volume of gilts due to mature varies significantly from year to year.
($1 = 0.7923 pounds)
(Reporting by David Milliken, writing by Andy Bruce)