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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 November 2007, 09:44 GMT
Bank voted 7-2 to hold UK rates
Bank of England building
Analysts are undecided over when the Bank will next move rates
Policymakers at the Bank of England voted 7-2 to keep UK interest rates at 5.75% earlier this month, minutes show.

The two policymakers who did not vote to hold rates were David Blanchflower as well as deputy governor John Gieve.

The pair wanted a cut in interest rates after "continuing turmoil in financial markets" and the ongoing credit crunch.

But most of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members said they had seen little sign of the credit crunch hitting UK consumers and firms so far.

And they were still worried about inflation risks posed by rising oil and other commodity prices.

"Moreover, since a reduction in Bank Rate was not widely expected this month, there was a danger that an immediate cut would be misinterpreted, precipitating an unwarranted further fall in the market yield curve," the minutes said.

'Uncertainty' remains

The last increase in UK interest rates came in July, when they rose to 5.75% from 5.5%.

At the time, many analysts expected rates to hit 6% by the end of the year.

However, the recent credit crunch on the world's financial markets, which led to the crisis at Northern Rock, has led many economists to amend their forecasts, with some now predicting a rate cut before too long.

In its latest economic forecast, the Bank of England itself now says that there is likely to be a "sharp slowdown" in UK growth next year.

Martin Slaney of GFT Global Markets said: "The minutes do little to dispel uncertainty over the timing of when a rate cut will come."

He said it suggested rates "will be kept on hold for a few more months" as the Bank monitored whether the negative effects of the credit crisis on growth was outweighing inflationary concerns over food and energy prices.

And Ian Kernohan, economist at RLAM, said the minutes raised the prospect that an interest rate cut "could come as early as next month".



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