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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 October 2006, 19:03 GMT
UK rates hike 'not a done deal'
Mervyn King, Bank of England Governor
Mr King says there are uncertainties about the direction of inflation
Bank of England governor Mervyn King has insisted that next week's widely-expected rise in UK interest rates is not a "done deal".

Most economists expect the bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to raise the cost of borrowing by 0.25 points to 5% to peg back inflation.

However Mr King, the MPC chairman, told the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee this was not a certainty.

"The simple truth is we wait until the meeting itself," he said.

"There are no done deals in monetary policy."

At the October MPC meeting, two out of the nine members voted in favour of a hike from the current rate level of 4.75%


The bank has set an inflation target of 2%. In September prices rose by 2.4%, down from 2.5% in August.

Mr King said there were "plenty of uncertainties" over inflation including the possibility of an economic slowdown in the US as well as UK consumers reducing their spending.

The slackening of oil prices - the increase in which was considered a factor behind rising inflation - did not show where medium-term inflation was heading, he added.

Talking about the labour market's impact on rising prices, he added that the influx of migrant workers meant that firms had "been able to expand production without having to put up wages as fast as they might have done".

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