‘Unorthodox strategy:’ Crisis management veteran Mark Carney on the chaos engulfing Great Britain
Mark Carney and I have been going back and forth for months to pin down a date — each of us having to cancel at least once. Fate was guiding us. The former governor of the Bank of England strolls into our New York venue at roughly the moment London’s markets are closing after the most brutal day in decades for the British pound and UK gilts.
It is Friday Sept. 23 and sterling has been dropping precipitously since Kwasi Kwarteng, Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer, unveiled a package of tax cuts funded by public borrowing. The previous day Andrew Bailey, Carney’s successor at the BoE, had raised interest rates by half a percentage point. Given the inflationary implications of Kwarteng’s “mini” Budget, that already seems too little. According to someone on Twitter, which I had been scrolling through as I waited for Carney, London forex traders have redubbed the pound “shitcoin” (since then, Liz Truss, the new prime minister, has made a partial U-turn and the pound has regained ground but her credibility may never do so).
In a deep blue suit and a plain dark tie, Carney greets me with a rueful smile. The Canadian-turned-British bigwig, now based back in Ottawa from where he was recruited, looks younger than his 57 years. “We certainly picked our day,” Carney says. “Are you paid in pounds or dollars?”