Bank of England monetary policy committee votes 8-1 to hold interest rates as it cuts economic growth, inflation forecasts

 
Jessica Morris
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The Bank of England held rates for the 82nd month in a row (Source: Getty)

The Bank of England's rate-setting committee held interest rates at historic lows, while it cut forecasts for economic growth and inflation.

The monetary policy committee (MPC) voted 8-1 in favour of keeping the benchmark interest rate at 0.5 per cent, with lone hawk Ian McCafferty staying in favour of a rate rise despite a darkening global backdrop.

"Recent volatility in financial markets has underlined the downside risks to global growth, primarily emanating from emerging markets," the minutes said.

The Bank lowered its forecasts for UK economic growth last quarter and this quarter by 0.1 percentage points to 0.5 per cent.

Earlier this week, economic data showed the manufacturing sector had shrunk by 1.2 per cent annually. Similarly, a separate release revealed that the economy was growing more slowly than was previously thought.

Policymakers said it was unclear what slower economic growth meant for inflation, which is currently 0.1 per cent, sitting well below the Bank’s target of two per cent.

They said the recent oil price fall would weigh slightly on inflation in the coming months, but this would lessen over the longer term, and it would actually boost UK economic growth.

“Although the most recent declines in oil prices would depress global inflation in the near term, given they appeared primarily to reflect developments on the supply side of the market, those conditions should in time provide net support to spending in the United Kingdom and its trading partners,” the minutes said.

Oil prices have fallen nearly 70 per cent since June 2014, and yesterday Brent, the global benchmark, slipped under $30 per barrel.

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