11 Sep 2009

Bank of England holds interest rates

6:11 am on 11 September 2009

The Bank of England has held interest rates at a record low of 0.5% for the sixth consecutive month.

It has also said it would continue to pump up to £175 billion into the economy - so-called quantitative easing - but that it would not extend the programme.

Recent data has suggested that Britain has begun to climb out of recession.

But the Bank has warned recovery will be "slow and protracted" and that it will take months for the full impact of its policies to be felt.

Optimism about the outlook for the British economy has seen the FTSE 100 index rise above 5000 points for the first time since October 2008.

Official data this week showed that UK manufacturing output rose at its fastest rate in 18 months in July.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research also said the economy grew 0.2% in the three months to August.

The BBC reports the BoE cut interest rates to a record low of 0.5% in March in an attempt to boost lending in the economy.

The aim of quantitative easing is to encourage individual banks to expand their balance sheets - moving their reserves into something that offers a higher return, such as making new loans - and so increasing the supply of money in the economy.