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UK interest rates cut to ‘almost nothing’

The Bank of England has cut interest rates for the sixth time in five months to 0.5%.
With rates now lower than they have ever been, the Bank also plans to boost the money supply to the tune of £75bn as a way of alleviating the financial crisis and boosting bank lending.

A statement by the Bank said: “In the United Kingdom, output dropped sharply in the fourth quarter of 2008. That reflected lower consumer spending, a further fall in business investment and a rapid run-down in stocks, in part offset by stronger net exports as the past depreciation of sterling began to take effect.

“Business surveys continue to point to a similar rate of contraction in the early part of this year. Unemployment has risen markedly. Credit conditions faced by companies and households remain tight.

“The Committee judged that this reduction in Bank Rate would by itself still leave a substantial risk of undershooting the 2% CPI inflation target in the medium term.

Accordingly, the Committee also resolved to undertake further monetary actions, with the aim of boosting the supply of money and credit and thus raising the rate of growth of nominal spending to a level consistent with meeting the inflation target in the medium term. “

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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