Bank Of England Maintains Rate, Asset Purchases

Bank of England policymakers unanimously decided to keep its benchmark rate and quantitative easing unchanged on Thursday as members were not much concerned about higher gilt yields.

The nine-member Monetary Policy Committee, headed by Governor Andrew Bailey, voted to hold the interest rate at 0.10 percent and the quantitative easing at GBP 895 billion in the latest policy meeting.

All members of the MPC judged that the existing stance of monetary policy remained appropriate.

Members were more upbeat about the near term outlook since the previous meeting. The committee observed that the news on the near-term economic activity had been positive, although the extent to which that news changed the medium-term outlook was less clear.

The bank added that the outlook for the economy remains unusually uncertain. It continues to depend on the evolution of the pandemic, measures taken to protect public health, and how households, businesses and financial markets respond to these developments.

As previously estimated, inflation is expected to return swiftly to around the 2 percent target in the spring, as the effects of those earlier falls in oil prices drop out of the annual comparison, and reflecting more recent increases in energy prices.

The committee said it did not intend to tighten monetary policy at least until there was clear evidence that significant progress was being made in eliminating spare capacity and achieving the 2 percent inflation target sustainably.

If the outlook for inflation weakened, the committee stood ready to take whatever additional action was necessary to achieve its remit, the bank said.

The bank is not unduly fazed by either the rise in bond yields or the noticeable increase in rate hike expectations that have occurred over recent weeks, James Smith and Petr Krpata, economists at ING said.

Negative rates are unlikely in 2021 and instead there will be a growing focus on tightening, though this process is not expected to start before 2023, they said.

Interest rates will not rise above their current rate of +0.10 percent until 2026, said Ruth Gregory, an economist at Capital Economics.

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