The only economist to get it right

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The Independent Online

The New Star economist Simon Ward outshone his competitors yesterday as the only analyst polled by Reuters to predict correctly yesterday's surprise interest rate rise.

The 49 other economists who responded to the survey said the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee would settle for no change, as did 52 economists questioned in a rival poll by Bloomberg.

Mr Ward, 46, seeming a trifle non-plussed by his instant celebrity, said yesterday that his "swingometer" - which predicts the way committee members will vote - had three interest rate "hawks" going for an increase. That would have meant no change, with a rise next month when the swingometer predicted five votes for a rise.

Mr Ward said there were good reasons why the committee would vote for a rise this month, rather than next. "The recent data has made the case for a tightening [of interest rates]. The issue was whether there was any benefit in a delay, and I could see no reason for them to delay until next month," he said.

Mr Ward added: "An interest rate rise was the clear, and in my view, correct answer."

Mr Ward, a graduate of Cambridge and London Universities, joined New Star in 2001 when it took over World Invest. He had worked there since 1994, joining from Lombard Street Research.