No changes from Bank of England today

Thursday 10 October 2013 17.43
Bank of England keeps UK rates at record lows of 0.5%
Bank of England keeps UK rates at record lows of 0.5%

The Bank of England made no change to its monetary policy today, sticking to its pledge to keep interest rates at a record low for the foreseeable future despite signs of a strengthening economic recovery.

Most data over the past month has suggested that Britain's stalled recovery is finally getting back in gear.

The International Monetary Fund earlier this week revised up the country's growth prospects by the biggest margin for any advanced economy, seeing growth of 1.4% this year and 1.9% in 2014.

But output remains well below pre-crisis levels, in contrast to other big economies.

The Bank of England believes the economy has plenty of scope to grow further without generating domestic inflation pressures.

This helps explain why its Governor Mark Carney pledged in August not to raise interest rates before the unemployment rate fell to 7% - something the bank forecasts will take three years - unless inflation threatened to get out of control.

There was no marked move in the price of sterling or UK government bonds following the Bank of England's announcement that it was keeping interest rates at 0.5% and leaving its total asset purchases unchanged at £375 billion sterling.

The bank as usual made no statement alongside its monetary policy announcement, and details of its discussions will not be published until the release of minutes on October 23.

While most private-sector economists think unemployment will fall rather more quickly from its current level of 7.7% than the BoE expects, analysts said that interest rates were unlikely to rise any time soon.

UK consumer price inflation currently stands at 2.7% and has exceeded the Bank of England's 2% target since late 2009.

There are also some clouds on the horizon for Britain's recovery. An unexpected fall in August's industrial output has raised questions about whether the economy is expanding as rapidly as private-sector surveys have suggested, while there is also a risk that the US government shutdown escalates into a default on government debt.

But more economic stimulus in Britain in the form of asset purchases looks unlikely for now, as the two policymakers who backed it earlier this year - Paul Fisher and David Miles - have said they would prefer to keep it in reserve in case the economy weakens.