BoE holds rates as 'unreliable boyfriend' returns

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Whilst the GDP data was hugely disappointing growing just 0.1% quarter on quarter, a good deal of the data and modelled data are linked to unseasonable cold weather supporting the idea that the weak prints were likely to be one off's rather than a more serious structural change in the economy. Surveys have suggested little rebound last month.

Alongside the decisions, the Bank of England also released its quarterly Inflation Report, providing an update on its economic forecasts, predicting that the United Kingdom economy will grow at average of around 1.75% over the next handful of years.

Financial markets had priced in a 90% chance of a rise in May at one stage following the bank's last set of economic forecasts, but this has dropped to around 10% after the GDP data shock. With the split scheduled for March 2019, the BOE said managing the implications of Brexit remains the main challenge for rate setters. But Governor Mark Carney lowered expectations after dovish comments he gave in an interview with the BBC, referring to data that was coming in on the "softer side".

"This report wasn't a great advert for clarity in central bank communication", said JP Morgan's Allan Monks.

The BoE said weaker inflation was the result of a faster fading of the impact of sterling's plunge on import prices, and that domestic inflation pressures continued to rise.

'For these members, there was value in seeing how the data unfolded over the coming months, to discern whether the softness in Q1 might persist, and to learn more about the extent to which the economy was evolving in line with the May Inflation Report projections, ' it said.

Failure by the Bank of England to increase interest rates will be storing up problems for how we cope with a future recession, an economist has said.

Growth of 1.4 pct this year will put Britain at, or very near, the bottom of the developed world league.

The Bank also revised its own forecasts for the United Kingdom economy, to 1.4 per cent annual growth, from a 1.8 per cent forecast in February.

However, much will depend on whether Carney and the Bank's staff attribute the recent weakness of the economy to poor weather in the United Kingdom earlier this year or regard it as a fundamental problem. Policymakers are not likely to take hikes off the table this year, as some forecasts have attached credence to.

The inflation report also reduced inflation forecasts to 2.4% in Q2 - from 2.7% previously - and by a basis point in the following years. "At present, interest rate markets are attaching only a 50 percent probability to such an outcome", added Lloyds Bank.

As in February, the MPC pointed to the fall in unemployment to its lowest level since the mid-1970s as the reason why rates would eventually have to rise.

A few days before Thursday's announcement, economists polled by Reuters on average expected rates to rise in August, though a number think the BoE may have missed the boat if growth continues to be lacklustre in the run-up to Brexit.