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Bank of England keeps rates at 0.5 percent as expected

Source: Reuters - Thu 15th Jul 2010

The BoE has held interest rates at 0.5 percent since the depths of the recession in March 2009, though last month one policymaker unexpectedly voted for an increase to 0.75 percent because of ongoing above-target inflation.

As usual, the central bank made no statement alongside its rate decision. A voting breakdown will only be available with the publication of the MPC minutes on July 21.

The BoE made no announcement of changes to the 200 billion pounds of assets, mostly British government bonds, purchased with newly-created money under its quantitative easing scheme between March 2009 and February 2010.

Not one of the 61 economists polled by Reuters expected a rate move, with most not seeing any monetary tightening until mid-2011 at the earliest as policymakers seek to offset the impact of massive government spending cuts.

BoE Governor Mervyn King said last month that the central bank would raise interest rates before it sold these assets.

British inflation remains well above the central bank's 2.0 percent target at 3.4 percent, but some of the factors that pushed it to a 17-month high in April - such as rising oil prices and weaker sterling - have now gone into reverse.

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