Bank of England keeps interest rates on hold: Why this could be last meeting without dissent

Peter Spence
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The Bank of England's interest-rate setting committee is going through some big changes this summer (Source: Getty)

The Bank of England's interest-rate setting committee is twiddling its thumbs again this month, voting to keep policy on hold.

Interest rates remain unchanged at their historic 0.5 per cent lows, and there's no change to asset purchases either.

Central bank watchers weren't expecting much this month, despite a small shakeup to the committee that decides on Bank policy.

This decision is the first for new Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Kristin Forbes, who takes Ben Broadbent's external seat as he moves to an internal position. Soon we'll see Nemat 'Minouche' Shafik join Forbes as the second woman on the nine-strong MPC.

RBC Capital suggests that today's meeting could be the last for a while without any dissent. Figures showing that the UK's economy grew strongly in the second quarter will be out before the MPC's next meeting, and RBC suggests that could impact how voters assess the level of spare capacity available.

We'll have to wait for the minutes of today's meeting, due 23 July, to see how members voted. BNP Paribas' David Tinsley says that he "would not rule out one or two members having voted today to begin the rate hiking cycle".

The Bank's next inflation report, scheduled for a month from now, should also offer further guidance on the precise timing of that first rate hike.

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