Interest rates held at 0.5%

5 August 2010

Interest rates have been held at their record low of 0.5% for the 17th successive month by the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). 

Quantitative easing was also kept static at £200 billion by the Committee. 

The largely expected move came despite upbeat GDP figures recently showing 1.1% growth in the second quarter for the UK's economy.

It also flew in the face of MPC member Andrew Sentance who had expressed the view that policy needed tightening to help battle rising inflation.

However, with consumer confidence falling to a 12-month low and a fall in the purchasing managers' index, concerns remain that the second half of the year will see a moderate deterioration in the economic recovery. 

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said he expects rates to remain low for some time. 

"Monetary policy will need to remain loose for an extended period to offset the impact of the major, sustained fiscal squeeze," he added. 

August's two-day meeting was the first for new MPC member Martin Weale, who replaced Kate Barker who left in May. Weale's appointment makes it the first time in its 13-year history that the entire Committee is all-male.

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