Bank of England maintains Bank Interest Rate at 0.5% and the size of the Asset Purchase Programme at £375 billion
The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) sets monetary policy to meet the 2% inflation target. At its most recent meeting, the MPC voted unanimously to maintain the Bank Rate at 0.5%. The Committee also voted unanimously to maintain the stock of purchased assets financed by the issuance of central bank reserves at £375 billion.
In December, twelve-month CPI inflation stood at 0.2%, almost two percentage points below the inflation target. Oil prices were more than a third lower, in sterling terms, than a year earlier. Together with muted growth in world prices, the appreciation of sterling since early 2013 has pulled down on import prices more broadly.
Overall, these factors can explain the vast majority of the deviation of inflation from the target in December, and to an even greater extent than at the time of the November Inflation Report. The remainder of the ‘undershoot’ reflects subdued domestic cost growth, particularly in relation to unit labour costs.