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News: Undivided vote to hold interest rates

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee were unanimous in agreeing to hold the base interest rate steady at 4.5% when they met earlier this month.

Minutes of the July 5 and 6 meeting published today showed that no arguments were advanced for either raising interest rates or cutting them.

The latest housing indicators had been mixed, the minutes reported. The Nationwide house price index had risen by 0.3% in June, while the Halifax index had fallen 1.2%. An average of the two lenders’ indices for Q2 was a little weaker than expected at the time of the May Inflation Report.

However, loan approvals as well as indicators of the number of site visitors, the sales-to-stock ratio and the current and forwardlooking price balances in the preview of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ survey had all risen.

The minutes showed that MPC members were worried about much the same upside risks to inflation as in June while downside risks included the possibility of more falls in asset prices.

David Walton passed away last month and Richard Lambert left the committee in March so the MPC currently has 7 members pending the appointments of Tim Besley (from 1 September) and Andrew Sentance (from 1 October).

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