The MPC's decision to leave base rates unchanged probably does not signal that rates have reached their floor. Recent experience suggests that sterling is unlikely to weaken sharply unless its interest rate cushion shrinks significantly. We still expect base rates to fall again in the next few months, and drop to about 4.5% around yearend or in early 2000.
Our latest MORI poll shows a further slight rise in public hostility towards EMU, which now is similar to the peaks seen during last December's tax harmonisation row. The shift is concentrated among readers of the quality press, and probably reflects growing confidence that the UK economy is able to prosper outside EMU.
The EMU debate is now in its critical year. If public opinion remains anti-EMU in a year's time, then - with the next General Election approaching - the government probably will tone down its pro-EMU stance, and the timetable for possible UK entry to EMU in 2001-02 might start to slip.UK -- Balance of Opinion for the Question: "If there were a referendum now on whether Britain should be part of a single European currency, how would you vote?", 1991-May 1999
Economic & Market Analysis - Sterling Weekly [pdf format - 94K]
Latest survey was carried out between 29 April and 4 May 1999. Sample size 2,137 people. A national representative sample was used and the survey was carried out by face-to-face interviews in the respondent's home.
Double-digit lead for SNP but a majority of the public think Michael Matheson should resign
6 in 10 people in Scotland think Michael Matheson should resign as Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care over the issue of his data roaming bill, according to the latest Ipsos Scottish Political Monitor in partnership with STV News.