Bank of England votes to hold interest rates for fourth time in a row

Interest rates have been held at 5.25 per cent for the fourth time in a row.

The Bank of England left the interest rate unchanged as had been widely predicted by many commentators.

Previously the Bank had raised rates 14 times in a row  in a bid to keep inflation in check.

Two members of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee voted to increase the Bank Rate by 0.25 percentage points, to 5.5 per cent.

One member preferred to reduce Bank Rate by 0.25 percentage points, to five per cent.

Six members voted to hold interest rates.

A spokesman said: “Wholesale energy prices have fallen significantly. Material risks remain from developments in the Middle East and from disruption to shipping through the Red Sea.

“Following recent weakness, GDP growth is expected to pick up gradually during the forecast period, in large part reflecting a waning drag on the rate of growth from past increases in Bank Rate. Business surveys are consistent with an improving outlook for activity in the near term.”

The Bank added that inflation is expected to fall to two per cent by the summer but will rebound by the end of the year.

Alice Haine, personal finance analyst at Bristol based Evelyn Partners said: “While the Bank of England’s decision was expected, the big question remains – when will the central bank start cutting interest rates this year?

“Financial markets have been betting on a string of rate cuts this year, with some analysts expecting changes as early as May but, for now, the BoE is sticking with its cautious stance, stressing it remains determined to keep inflationary pressures at bay.

“Hints of change ahead could be found in the rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee’s split decision.”

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