LONDON, July 23 – Bank of England policymakers unanimously agreed to keep its main interest rate at a record low level of 0.50 percent, according to minutes of the last meeting published on Wednesday.
Members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), including bank governor Mark Carney, voted 9-0 to sit tight at a gathering earlier in July as they weighed up economic recovery and low inflation in Britain against signs of weakening growth abroad.
“Against this backdrop, the Committee agreed that no increase was warranted at this meeting,” the minutes said.
Some analysts said however that the minutes indicated that the BoE had moved nearer to raising the rate, which has stood at half a percent for more than five years to aid Britain’s recovery from the global financial crisis.
“The minutes of July’s UK MPC meeting suggest that the committee is edging closer to raising interest rates,” said Samuel Tombs, senior UK economist at Capital Economics consultants.
“While the vote to leave interest rates on hold was unanimous again, the minutes reiterated June’s statement that for some members the decision had become more balanced.
“In addition, the committee judged that it was likely that slack was being absorbed more rapidly than had been envisaged. As a result, the MPC seems to think that the economy is now strong enough to cope with rate rises.”
At their meeting in July, policymakers voted unanimously also to maintain the level of BoE cash stimulus, or quantitative easing, pumping around the economy at £375 billion ($640 billion, 475 billion euros)
Ahead of the last meeting, the British Chambers of Commerce — a major business lobby group — warned that the BoE should avoid any hasty move to raise its rate after signs of slowing expansion in some sections of the economy.