Bank Of England Cuts Key Rate For First Time In 7 Years, Expands QE Program

By Markets MarketWatch Pulse

The Bank of England on Thursday cut its key interest rate to a record low 0.25% from 0.5%, meeting widely held expectations. The central bank also expanded its quantitative easing program to �435 billion ($579 billion) from �375 billion and said it plans to launch a corporate bond-buying plan. Markets had overwhelmingly priced in chances of a rate cut, the first since March 2009, as economic data have worsened since the U.K. voted on June 23 to leave the European Union, or Brexit. Policy makers voted 9-0 for the rate cut. Recent "surveys of business activity, confidence and optimism suggest that the United Kingdom is likely to see little growth in GDP in the second half of this year," the BOE said in a statement. The pound fell to $1.3167 from $1.3321 just before the BOE's policy decision was announced.

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