Carney Leaves Door Open, Again, to Longer Bank of England Term

  • Governor ducks questions on future for fourth time in 2 months
  • Carney indicated in 2012 he only wanted to serve for 5 years

Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England (BOE), reacts during a Bloomberg Television interview following the release of the bank's final inflation report at the Bank of England in the City of London, U.K., on Nov. 5, 2015.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Mark Carney left the door open to serving eight years as Bank of England governor, ducking questions about his intentions for the fourth time in less than two months.

The governor told the Financial Times in an interview published Friday that he has “so much more” he wants to do at Britain’s central bank, dropping yet another hint that he will stay for a full term, instead of the five years he signaled when he was appointed. The FT reported that Carney refused to rule out an extension.

Carney’s lack of clarity about his future plans comes after he sidestepped questions in interviews starting as early as October with Bloomberg News, the Daily Mail and CBC’s The National. The communication change evokes the governor’s struggle to deliver clear messages on the path of policy that led him to be branded an “unreliable boyfriend” by a U.K. lawmaker.

The new tone marks a departure from his comments in 2013 that a shortened term was part of his motivation for accepting the governorship. Carney cited personal reasons and the “punishing” nature of being a major central bank governor as factors in his thinking that a five-year term would be suitable.

While the BOE website shows Carney’s appointment as July 2013 to June 2021, a line underneath states the governor “has indicated that he would serve to 30 June 2018.”

Open Mind

Carney first suggested he had a more open mind in October, saying he would “get back to” the Daily Mail when asked if he intended to stay at the BOE for longer than five years. In a Bloomberg News interview on Nov. 5 he avoided direct questions about his term length, saying: “I’m not even halfway into my five years. So it’s far too early to answer that.” 

Carney told CBC in an interview this week that he had agreed to serve five years of an eight-year term because “that would be the most effective time for reforming the institution in my judgment at the time and also for me personally as a Canadian.” Asked if his view had changed, he said: “I’ve not yet finished the first half of that five years.”

A BOE spokesman declined to comment when contacted on Friday.

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