As widely expected, the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee left its
benchmark interest rate at 0.5 percent, its level since the worst of
the financial crisis more than five years ago.
The MPC made no statement. Details of how its nine members voted
will be released in just under two weeks' time.
Martin Weale, the MPC member most likely to break ranks and cast a
first vote for a rate hike, said last week that borrowing costs
should go up sooner rather than later although it was not yet time
to start easing the economy off the BoE's stimulus.
Last month BoE Governor Mark Carney said Britain's economy was only
edging towards a first interest rate hike, even as growth is
expected to top 3 percent this year.
The BoE thinks there are still enough people out of work or seeking
more work to allow the recovery to continue without pushing up
Forecasts from the Bank published in May showed that gradual
interest rate rises starting in about a year's time would be
consistent with its 2 percent inflation target.
The Bank also says it will not raise interest rates as its first
line of defense against risks from Britain's housing market which is
booming in many areas of the country. Instead, it will turn
initially to further controls on mortgage lending, possibly as soon
as this month.
The BoE's Financial Policy Committee meets on June 17 and its
decision is due to be announced on June 26.
[to top of second column]
Data from mortgage lender Halifax on Thursday showed house prices
rose by nearly 4 percent in May alone although economists said the
number, while reflecting the strength in the market, could be a
The BoE also said on Thursday it was keeping unchanged its 375
billion-pound ($628 billion) stockpile of government bonds which it
built up over recent years in an attempt to get the economy moving
(Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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