Investors in the pound have waited more than six years for the Bank of England to raise interest rates and bolster the UK currency. With money markets signaling no move next year, it looks like they may have longer to wait.
Bank of England officials said low oil prices and subdued wage growth will keep a lid on inflation as they left their key interest rate at a record low. In the minutes of its December meeting, the Monetary Policy Committee weighed “robust growth” in spending against weak overseas demand and expressed concern over the feeble impetus for prices. It said eight of the nine-member panel voted to leave the benchmark rate at 0.5 percent this month, with Ian McCafferty maintaining his call for a 25 basis-point increase. “There would need to be a sustained firming in domestic cost pressures, compared with current rates,” to push inflation back to the 2 percent target, officials said. “The price of oil had fallen markedly again, increasing the likelihood that headline inflation rates would remain subdued, and nominal-wage growth had leveled off.”