Bank of England holds interest rates at record low

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Bank of England in Threadneedle Street, London.
Image: Adrian Pingstone.

The Bank of England has held UK interest rates at 0.5% for another month. The rate is the lowest ever, and has remained in place since March last year as part of the central bank's response to the global financial crisis. Most analysts had predicted the rate to go unchanged.

Quantitative easing, also begun in March 2009, will continue in January. This involves the Bank purchasing a total of £200 billion in assets. In a brief statement released today, the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee said it expected the programme to take another month to complete. The decision will be revisited in February, when more official economic data and forecasts are available.

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank has been responsible for setting the UK's official interest rate each month since 1997. Prior to this the base rate was controlled by the Treasury and the Chancellor of the Exchequer.