SMPC votes to hold interest rates - 4th December 2006

SMPC agrees by seven votes to two to hold interest rates at 5%

The IEA's Shadow Monetary Policy Committee, a group of leading monetary economists voted by seven to two to hold the Bank rate at the 5% level announced on 9th November. Two voted for a further 0.25% increase, and nobody voted for a cut. Looking further ahead, four of those who wished to hold rates believed that, whilst a rise was needed, it made sense for the MPC to wait until either next month or February 2007, when a new set of Inflation Report forecasts would be available. Against this, two of the SMPC members who voted for a hold in December believed that the next move in the official Bank rate should be downwards, with the remainder having a neutral bias.

Once again, a number of members expressed concern about the rate of growth of broad money which has now reached 14% per annum.