Bank of England’s Owl has commentators in a flap

Minouche Shafik, new Deputy Governor of the Bank of England

Minouche Shafik, new Deputy Governor of the Bank of England

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THE Yorkshire Post’s interview with the new deputy governor of the Bank of England had economic commentators in a flap today after she likened herself to an owl.

Members of the Monetary Policy Committee are normally characterised as doves or hawks according to their stance on interest rates.

But when quizzed on her position, Minouche Shafik said: “I asked my children this question and they said, ‘Mummy, you should say you’re an owl’. Look at the data, try and be wise.”

Financial journalists responded on Twitter by imagining a new era of MPC members identifying themselves with birds.

Alan Beattie of the Financial Times suggested: “With my eclectic approach to data, I’m a bit of a magpie.”

David Smith of The Sunday Times added: “I see myself as the robin of the committee, friendly and quietly chirping away in the corner.”

Duncan Weldon of the BBC’s Newsnight said: “I’m more of a penguin really. Yes, I do feel out of place and I’m not sure how I ended up here.”

The national media focused on Ms Shafik’s comments about the eurozone and when interest rates might rise in her first interview since taking on the role.

She said the Bank of England will have to move more quickly on interest rates if it sees that wage increases are not matched by productivity gains.

But she added: “We don’t want to take risks with the recovery.”

Commenting on the interview, Rob Wood, chief economist at Berenberg, said: “There’s nothing here to suggest she is desperate to raise rates anytime soon.”

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