LONDON Kai Forbath Jersey , Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Bank of England's (BOE) rate-setting monetary policy committee (MPC) took a small step back from hiking interest rates at its August meeting.
The MPC voted 6-2, with the committee one member short, for leaving interest rates unchanged, a less interventionist stance than the 5-3 vote at the June meeting.
The British bank rate has been at 0.25 percent since August last year Nick Easton Jersey , a record low set with a 25 basis point cut to bolster the economy in case of blowback from the Brexit referendum decision.
"The BOE is highly likely to sit tight on interest rates through 2017 and 2018 -- and very possibly beyond," Raj Badiani, senior principal economist at IHS Markit in London told Xinhua.
"The next move in interest rates is likely to be up, the majority of members are reluctant to consider an interest rate hike at a time of prolonged economic and political uncertainties centered on Brexit Ryan Quigley Jersey , alongside the limited second-quarter GDP developments appearing to suggest increasingly downbeat firms sitting in their industrial and construction investment plans."
Badiani said he thought the BOE will remain tolerant of inflation above its monetary policy target of 2 percent.
CPI inflation was 2.6 percent in June, having risen from 0.5 percent in May last year following the fall in sterling against other currencies. Such a sharp rise reflected sterling's fall from 1.48 U.S. dollars to the pound on the night of the referendum vote last year to 1.31 U.S. dollars now, having touched as low as 1.22 U.S. dollars in between.
This has led to the rise in inflation, as prices reflect the higher costs of imports and of commodities and raw materials for manufacturers.
Badiani said the MPC would at this critical stage be wary of a policy mistake which would give a negative jolt to the declining rate of British GDP growth.
Inflation falling back to 2.6 percent in June and softer economic data allowed the MPC members concerned about faltering growth prospects to hold the high ground in August over those concerned about breached inflation targets Mike Remmers Jersey , and this would continue, said Badiani.
The still rising consumer credit levels and the savings rate falling back to a record low of 1.7 percent in the first quarter are likely to provide a supportive argument for those who want to raise interest rates in the near future.
The MPC also voted unanimously to keep the stock of UK Gilts at 435 billion pounds (570.6 billion U.S. dollars) and to maintain the stock of investment-grade corporate bond purchases at 10 billion pounds.
However, the MPC voted unanimously to close the drawdown period for the Term Funding Scheme (TFS) on February 28, 2018 Riley Reiff Jersey , as planned when the scheme began last August as part of the post-referendum economic stimulus measures.
In a separate announcement on Thursday, the BOE unveiled its inflation and GDP forecasts.
The Bank expected investment in the British economy to be 20 percentage points lower in 2020 than it had forecast before the referendum, and it revised down its forecast for GDP growth this year from 1.9 percent to 1.7 percent. Inflation was forecast to peak at 3 percent in October and to fall to 2.8 percent next year.
Uncertainty about the economic prospects as Brexit negotiations unfold was a major reason.
Governor Mark Carney said at a press conference at the BOE's headquarters in London that the British economy was "beginning the process of adjusting to a new and as of yet uncertain economic relationship with the EU."
"Monetary policy cannot prevent the weaker real incomes likely to accompany the move to new trading arrangements, but it can influence how this hit to incomes is distributed between job losses and price rises Latavius Murray Jersey , and it can support UK households and businesses as they adjust to such profound change."
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