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The additional bond purchases will take the total value of the central bank’s Asset Purchase Facility (APF) to £745 billion.
The Bank resisted taking interest rates into negative territory, a decision being closely watched by investors, instead opting to hold its main lending rate steady at 0.1%. Rates have been reduced twice from 0.75% since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sterling edged around 0.1% lower against the dollar shortly after the decision was announced, which was in line with analyst expectations.
The BOE’s latest monetary policy decision comes as the U.K. economy attempts to recover from an unprecedented 25% contraction across March and April as lockdowns forced by the pandemic hammered economic activity.
While economic data has indicated that the worst of the impact may be over, the Bank of England will also have to take into consideration the eventual unwinding of the British government’s furlough scheme, which subsidizes 80% of wages for workers furloughed as a result of the pandemic.
Economists had broadly expected the central bank to expand its bond-buying program. ING Developed Markets Economist James Smith pointed out earlier this week that the size of asset purchases sits at £598 billion at the last count, indicating that the original £645 billion target set in March could be exhausted by July.
The U.K. remains the fifth worst affected country in the world by the pandemic, with more than 300,700 confirmed cases and more than 42,200 deaths as of Thursday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University.