22 January 2003, 15:27  BoE voted 7:2 to hold rates in January

The Bank of England's policy makers voted by 7:2 to hold interest rates at 4.0pc earlier this month. According to the minutes of the meeting held on 8/9 January, Stephen Nickell and Christopher Allsopp voted for a quarter point cut in borrowing costs for the fourth month in a row, but the remainder of the monetary policy committee (MPC) backed no change to rates. "There was no sign in the monetary or labour data that the economy was about to weaken abruptly, despite the gloomy tone of some recent commentators," the minutes said. The two doves on the committee argued that a cut was warranted due to "significant downside risks, in particular from the eurozone, where consumer confidence was weak". The MPC noted indications of sluggish retail growth in December and "tentative" signs that house price inflation was moderating, but claimed that both these developments "had been expected to materialise at some stage". The European Central Bank (ECB) and the Federal Reserve cut their rates by 50 basis points last year in a bid to boost growth, but the Bank of England has left borrowing costs unchanged for 14 months //www.fxcentre.com

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