Bank of England keeps rates and size of bond-buying plan on hold

Photo: AP BoE said it was keeping its benchmark interest rate at an all-time low of 0.1%.

The Bank of England kept its stimulus programme unchanged on Thursday ahead of an expected recovery in Britain’s economy later this year, helped by the fast rollout of the country’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The BoE said it kept its benchmark interest rate at an all-time low of 0.1%, in line with forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists. The central bank also left unchanged the size of its 895 billion-pound ($1.25 trillion) bond-buying programme. It said it planned to keep the pace of its purchases of British government bonds steady at around 4.4 billion pounds per week, but it said it could slow the pace in the future.

“The Committee continued to envisage that the pace of purchases could remain at around its current level initially, with flexibility to slow the pace of purchases later,” the BoE said after its March policy meeting.

The Bank of England said there were signs that Britain’s economy was recovering from its COVID-19 slump but it stressed the outlook remained unclear, dampening speculation the central bank might move quickly to tighten policy.

“Since the Monetary Policy Committee’s previous meeting, the news on near-term economic activity had been positive, although the extent to which that news changed the medium-term outlook was less clear. Different MPC members placed different weights on the balance of risks around the outlook,” it said.

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