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BoE forecasting held back by out-of-date tech - Bernanke

BoE forecasting held back by out-of-date tech - Bernanke

The Bank of England has been heavily criticised by a former chairman of the US Federal Reserve for relying on outdated technology for its economic forecasts.

Ben Bernanke, who led the Fed from 2006 to 2014, was commissioned to conduct an independent review into the UK central bank’s operations and policies in the wake of its failure to prevent inflation between 2022 and 2023.

While the report cites failures of monetary policy, poor communication and “strikingly technocratic” use of staff, much of the criticism was reserved for the use of software and technology.

Bernanke refers to “material under-investment” in forecasting tools, the proliferation of “makeshift fixes”, and the resulting “complicated and unwieldy system”.

Consequently, bank staff had used “human judgments that paper over problems with financial models”.

His report urges the bank to invest more money in its software and to replace or at least thoroughly revamp its economic model, known as Compass, and to incorporate “more qualitative descriptions of risks and uncertainty surrounding the outlook”.

Bernanke is set to appear before the all-party Treasury committee of members of parliament in May to answer questions on his report.

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