Bank of England hikes interest rate from 0.10% to 0.25% to combat inflation

The BoE's monetary policy committee voted 8-1 in favour of the first interest rate hike in more than three years, but unanimously decided to maintain quantitative easing stimulus

Agence France-Presse December 16, 2021 19:26:27 IST
Bank of England hikes interest rate from 0.10% to 0.25% to combat inflation

Representational image.

London: The Bank of England on Thursday hiked its key interest rate from a record-low 0.10 percent to 0.25 percent, as it seeks to combat decade-high inflation despite Omicron fears.
The decision confounded market expectations for no change and came one day after news that UK inflation rocketed in November to 5.1 percent, more than double the BoE's 2.0-percent target.

The BoE's monetary policy committee voted 8-1 in favour of the first interest rate hike in more than three years, but unanimously decided to maintain quantitative easing stimulus, it said in a statement.

Policymakers deemed the hike "necessary" in order to return UK inflation towards its official target level, adding that consumer price inflation in advanced economies had risen by more than expected.

"Most members of the committee judged that an immediate, small increase in Bank Rate was warranted," read minutes from the gathering. "Although the conditions for tightening set out in November had been met, the decision at this meeting was finely balanced because of the uncertainty around Covid developments."

They also noted however that the Omicron coronavirus variant, which has spread rapidly over the last month, posed downside risks to activity. The UK economy also continues to suffer from the ongoing supply crunch, it cautioned.

"Growth in many sectors has continued to be restrained by disruption in supply chains and shortages of labour," it added. "The impact of the Omicron variant, associated additional measures introduced by the UK government and devolved administrations, and voluntary social distancing will push down on GDP in December and in" in the first quarter of 2022.

Rates had been slashed to a record-low 0.1 percent at the start of the pandemic in order to boost Britain's lockdown-hit economy. However, global inflation has since accelerated sharply after the world emerged from lockdowns earlier this year, with prices soaring as companies struggled to meet demand for goods, energy and services.

The BoE forecast Thursday that inflation would hold around 5.0 percent "for the majority of the winter period" -- and would peak at about 6.0 percent in April 2022 due to surging wholesale gas prices.

The UK economy was already struggling prior to Omicron, growing by an anaemic 0.1 percent in October, from 0.6 percent in September. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned of a looming "tidal wave" of Omicron that could overwhelm hospitals.

Updated Date:

also read

RBI's move to raise rates, good monsoon will help in containing inflation: CII president
Business

RBI's move to raise rates, good monsoon will help in containing inflation: CII president

CII estimates India's GDP growth to be in the band of 7.4 - 8.2 per cent, depending upon the global oil prices

North Korea reports first COVID-19 outbreak, declares 'severe national emergency'
World

North Korea reports first COVID-19 outbreak, declares 'severe national emergency'

North Korea has never admitted to a case of COVID-19, with the government imposing a rigid coronavirus blockade of its borders since the start of the pandemic in 2020

India struggles as inflation rises to eight-year high: What's the reason behind it?
Business

India struggles as inflation rises to eight-year high: What's the reason behind it?

India's retail inflation surged to 7.79 per cent in April, the highest since May 2014. Experts note that steeper edible oil and supply chain disruptions owing to the Russia-Ukraine war are responsible for rising prices