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Bank of England holds interest rates at record low

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Dion Global

06 Aug 2020

The Bank of England left its benchmark interest rate at a record low of 0.1% amid caution about how rapidly the United Kingdom will recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bank also left its target for buying government and corporate bonds unchanged at 745 billion pounds ($980 billion).

The decision announced Thursday was widely expected as economists forecast data released next week will show the economy shrank less than expected in the second quarter.

In May, when the central bank released its last report, policymakers estimated gross domestic product would shrink 25% during the quarter. The average of economist estimates now puts the decline at less than 19%.

While the immediate impact of the pandemic is likely to be less severe than initially feared, many economists expect a slower recovery than the central bank forecast in May.

Berenberg Bank, for example, expects GDP to grow 6.5% next year and 2.2% in 2022, compared with the central bank"s May estimate of 15% and 3%, respectively.