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BoE sceptical over digital pound as euro zone backs work on digital euro

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey questioned the need for a digital pound on Monday just as euro zone finance ministers backed further preparatory work on a digital euro.

Britain is due to launch a public consultation in coming weeks on what should be the legal attributes of a digital pound - if it was decided to go ahead and launch one - which backers say would mean faster transactions.

Bailey told parliament's Treasury Select Committee on Monday that he was not sure if a digital pound was needed for now.

The Bank is updating its real-time gross settlement system (RTGS), which holds the accounts of Britain's banks, building societies and other institutions at the BoE.

"I think it's an open question whether a wholesale digital central bank currency is needed because we've got a wholesale central bank money settlement system with a major upgrade," Bailey said.

Bailey was also cautious about a digital pound for retail use such as for making payments, adding there is no plan to abolish cash.

"We have to be very clear what problem we are trying to solve here before we get carried away by the technology and the idea," he said.

He was not convinced that retail payment systems "need this sort of upgrade at the moment".

Meanwhile, euro zone finance ministers on Monday said they backed continued preparatory work for a potential digital euro, now being studied by the European Central Bank.

The EU is due to publish a draft law this year on how a digital euro would fit into the bloc's laws.

"The Eurogroup considers that the introduction of a digital euro as well as its main features and design choices requires political decisions that should be discussed and taken at the political level," the ministers said in a joint statement.

A digital euro should complement, and not replace cash, and an "offline functionality" should be explored to serve a wider range of uses and contribute to financial inclusion, the ministers said.

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04-03-2024 14:18:37 (UTC+7)

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 EUR/USD1.0848Sell
 GBP/USD1.2666↑ Sell
 USD/JPY150.40↑ Buy
 AUD/USD0.6520↑ Sell
 USD/CAD1.3565↑ Buy
 EUR/JPY163.15↑ Buy
 EUR/CHF0.9582↑ Buy
 Gold2,093.40↑ Buy
 Silver23.273↑ Sell
 Copper3.8558Sell
 Crude Oil WTI79.83Buy
 Brent Oil83.52Buy
 Natural Gas1.891↑ Buy
 US Coffee C184.13Neutral
 Euro Stoxx 504,894.05Buy
 S&P 5005,137.08↑ Buy
 DAX17,735.00↑ Sell
 FTSE 1007,682.50↑ Sell
 Hang Seng16,535.50Neutral
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 IBEX 3510,064.70↑ Buy
 BASF47.985↑ Sell
 Bayer28.33↑ Sell
 Allianz251.80Buy
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 Lufthansa7.191Sell
 Siemens AG181.28Sell
 Deutsche Bank AG12.566Neutral
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