Bank Of England Leaves Policy On Hold Amid 'Brexit' Uncertainty

By Markets MarketWatch Pulse

The Bank of England on Thursday kept its key interest rate at a record low of 0.5% and made no changes to its 375-billion-pound ($529.99 billion) asset purchase program. The vote was unanimous. Policy makers were widely expected to leave rates where they've been since March 2009 ahead of the U.K.'s EU referendum on June 23 on whether to stay in or leave the union. Polls are currently neck-to-neck, sparking jitters in the U.K. financial markets. "There are some signs that uncertainty relating to the EU referendum has begun to weigh on certain areas of activity, as some decisions, including on capital expenditure and commercial property transactions, are being postponed pending the outcome of the vote," the central bank said in its minutes. "This might lead to some softening in growth during the first half of 2016," it added. The pound traded at $1.4158 after the BOE decision, slightly higher than $1.4137 ahead of the call.

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