Bank of England holds policy as investors await afternoon's ECB statement

Peter Spence
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The UK's interest-rate setting committee elected not to change policy this month (Source: Getty)

They're still twiddling their thumbs over at the Bank of England.

Policy has been left unchanged, with interest rates at their historic lows of 0.5 per cent, and asset purchases maintained at £375bn.

No surprises there, with analysts widely forecasting we'd see nothing changed today. Minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee's last meeting revealed that "for some members the monetary policy decision was becoming more balanced", but we're clearly not at a point where members are comfortable with hiking rates.

In a recent Financial Times interview the most hawkish member of the MPC, Martin Weale, expressed concerns that hiking rates later rather than sooner will necessitate stronger hikes in the future, but he's considered somewhat of an outlier on the committee. He would prefer rate rises to be gradual, with interest rates increased by no more than 0.25 percentage points a quarter.

Instead investor attention is on this afternoon's European Central Bank (ECB) policy changes, and the presser that will follow. The ECB is expected to cut both its refinancing and deposit rates, moving the latter into negative territory. As for what else it might do to prop up the ailing Eurozone, analysts think these are the weapons left in the central bank's arsenal.