The Bank of England kept its key interest rate at a record-low 0.1% today.

It also it was ready to ramp up its recently expanded bond-buying programme further if needed to help the UK economy cope with the Covid-19 crisis. 

The bank, which rushed to take emergency measures on two occasions earlier this month as the government shut down swathes of the economy, said it was not able to precisely assess the size of the looming hit to growth. 

It cut UK rates to 0.25% from 0.75%, just days before a second reduction to 0.1%, as the coronavirus crisis gripped the economy. 

"If needed, the MPC can expand asset purchases further," the Bank of England said today, referring to its Monetary Policy Committee. 

"The MPC will continue to monitor the situation closely and, consistent with its remit, stands ready to respond further as necessary to guard against an unwarranted tightening in financial conditions, and support the economy," it added. 

Earlier this month, the Bank of England cut its rate to 0.25% from 0.75%, just days before a second reduction to 0.1%, as the coronavirus crisis gripped the economy. 

The Bank of England maintained the total size of its bond-buying programme - comprising mostly British government debt and some corporate bonds - at £645 billion. 

It made two emergency cuts to its key interest rate earlier this month and boosted its bond-buying programme by a record £200 billion. 

"The scale and duration of the shock to economic activity, while highly uncertain, will be large and sharp but should ultimately prove temporary, particularly if job losses and business failures can be minimised," the Bank of England said today.