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UK interest rates unchanged for sixth consecutive month

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by Kay Mitchell

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has today elected to keep UK interest rates on hold at the record low of 0.5% for the sixth month in a row.

The move was widely expected after a raft of positive economic news this week, suggesting that the UK is beginning to emerge from recession.

Meanwhile, the Bank also said it will leave its quantitative easing programme unchanged at £175 billion and will not extend it.

At last month’s meeting, however, the majority of policymakers voted to expand the QE programme by £50 billion to £175 billion but Mervyn King, the Bank’s Governor, along with Tim Besley and David Miles, voted for a larger cash injection of £75 billion.

In other news today, the Halifax has reported that house prices rose by 0.8% last month compared with the previous month – the second consecutive month that prices have risen.

The latest rise takes the annual rate of fall to 10.1%, from 12% in July, while the average UK home is now valued at £160,973, said the Halifax.

In other news this week, yesterday, the FTSE 100 index closed above 5,000 – the first time since October 2008.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported yesterday that British exports rose at their fastest monthly pace in July.

Also the Nationwide reported a rise in consumer confidence, while a separate report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and KPMG revealed some positive news for the UK jobs market.

A rise in UK manufacturing output during July was also reported, boosted by a sharp improvement up in car production.

Finally, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research said the British economy grew 0.2% in the three months to August and reinforced its opinion that the UK recession ended in May.

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News posted: September 10, 2009

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