Relief for borrowers as Bank of England holds interest rates

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Though the national statistics office downplayed the impact of the cold weather on growth, the Bank of England said the so-called "Beast From the East" cold weather front was a key factor.

The pound fell sharply on the news, dropping around 0.8% against the USA dollar, having been in positive territory for the day before the announcement.

"The MPC's decision was widely expected given the disappointing economic data for Q1 2018, with GDP growth being significantly below expectations and inflation surprising to the downside".

There are still lingering hopes that BoE officials might raise interest rates today, which accounts for the present tight trading for the Pound.

Urwin added that as the Brexit rollercoaster is moving forward some benefit from continued growth in the global economy would be felt.

The Bank of England has announced it is keeping its main interest rate at 0.5% amid evidence that the economy is slowing.

The Bank said that, 'Taking external and domestic influences together, CPI inflation is projected to fall back slightly more quickly than in February, reaching the target in two years.

"The recent weakness in data for the first quarter had been consistent with a temporary soft patch".

- That means GBP traders need to listen carefully to the central bank's Governor Mark Carney when he comments on the decision. If it views the first-quarter slowdown as a blip, and still believes growth will exceed its 1.5% speed limit for the year as a whole, it could decide to move now, rather than wait and allow medium-term inflationary pressures to build. We certainly err towards the latter and expect the central bank to keep its options open for an August hike, depending on a rebound in hard economic data.

Martin Essex said: "Investors and traders will therefore be listening out for any hints by Carney on Thursday that a rate rise in August is on the cards; now market pricing suggests the chances are around 50/50".

Meanwhile, since hitting its highest level in more than five years late last year, inflation has fallen to 2.5 percent in recent months.

However, the reality has been slowing retails sales, a deteriorating high street and a quarter with the weakest economic growth since 2012 suggesting that the economy is far from in recovery mode. The BOE is anxious that weak productivity growth and subdued investment since the 2016 Brexit vote make it hard for the economy to meet nearly any strengthening of demand without overheating.

How the Bank now sees inflation playing out over the next three years.

More clarity was subsequently provided with regard to Brexit in March, a key issue for the MPC, with Michel Barnier and David Davis announcing both parties had agreed a large part of the transition deal when the United Kingdom leaves the bloc on 29 March 2019.

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