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7-2 BoE vote to hold Bank Rate

7-2 BoE vote to hold Bank Rate

In addition, official data this week showing that British wages growth is catching up with overall inflation has cemented expectations of an interest rate hike to 0.75 percent in May. A hike in interest rates would be only the second raise since the financial crisis 10 years ago.

The Bank of England said on Thursday it had chose to keep its main interest rate at 0.50 percent, as it weighed high United Kingdom inflation against Brexit uncertainty.

Optimistic analysts focused on the composition of policymaker votes - two of the nine voting members backed higher interest rates.

The decision saw the first split vote on the MPC since rates were raised last November, from 0.25% to 0.5%.

The bank's announcement was largely in line with market forecasts, although most BoE watchers expected a unanimous decision from the MPC to leave policy alone.

He added: "It now looks increasingly likely we'll see a rise to 0.75% at the Bank's May meeting".

Q&A What is the monetary policy committee?

The UK's unemployment rate has meanwhile dipped, reverting to the lowest level since 1975, after a brief rise.

A more hawkish path from the Fed is expected over the next couple of years after the Federal Open Markets Committee voted unanimously to raise the Federal Funds target range from 1.25%-1.5% to the 1.5%-1.75% band, in light of a strengthening economic outlook in recent months.

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Ian McCafferty and Michael Saunders argued that a "modest tightening. could mitigate the risks from a more sustained period of above-target inflation that might necessitate a more abrupt change in policy and hence a greater adjustment in growth and employment".

Regarding Brexit, the minutes said that "developments regarding the UK's withdrawal from the European Union - and, in particular, the reaction of households, businesses and asset prices to them - remain the most significant influence on, and source of uncertainty about, the economic outlook".

But the BoE is likely to point to a sharp pick-up in wage growth to a two-and-a-half year high of 2.8 percent as cementing the case for a move in May.

Britain's vote in June 2016 stoked inflation as the ensuing drop in the value of the pound raised the price of imported goods.

Last month Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and his colleagues surprised markets by saying rates might need to go up faster than expected.

"Today I can announce that we have set up a new fintech hub that will sit at the heart of the Bank, to consider both how the Bank understands and how it applies fintech, relevant to its mission", Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden said.

Retail sales grew by 0.8 per cent in February, having fallen by 0.2 per cent in January.

In such exceptional circumstances, the MPC's remit specifies that the Committee must balance any significant trade-off between the speed at which it intends to return inflation sustainably to the target and the support that monetary policy provides to jobs and activity.


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