Bank of England Decides to Holds Key Rate in Busy Week of Central-Bank Meetings -- At a Glance
By Ed Frankl
The Bank of England unexpectedly held its key interest rate on Thursday, in one of a raft of critical central-bank meetings this week. The decision came amid growing signals of a slowing U.K. economy and steadily cooling inflation. But it also puts it out of step with most other European central banks, which hiked in the face of still-stubborn inflation, although the U.S. Federal Reserve chose to hold rates. South Africa's central bank also meets Thursday. Here are some of decisions central banks have made in recent days:
--The Bank of England decided in a 5-4 vote to hold its key bank rate at 5.25%, unchanged for the first time since November 2021, citing inflation coming in lower than the bank expected in August and country's economy contracting in July. There were also signs of loosening in the labor market, though wage growth continues to be strong, the bank said. Sterling fell to a six-month low against the dollar on the news.
--The U.S. Federal Reserve held rates on Wednesday, keeping its funds range at between 5.25% and 5.5%. Policymakers appear split on whether to raise rates again before the end of 2023, while officials also indicated that rates would be higher for longer through 2024 than previously anticipated.
--Turkey's central bank on Thursday hiked its key rate to 30% from 25% in a fourth of a series of steep increases since the appointment of new governor Hafize Gaye Erkan, after inflation in July and August crept up above expectations. The Turkish lira slipped slightly against the dollar after the decision.
--Switzerland's central bank unexpectedly held its key policy rate at 1.75%, after it said it now expects inflation to meet its target of under 2% from 2025 onward. The franc slipped to a two-month low against the euro after the decision.
--The Norges Bank ticked up its key rate by 25 basis points to 4.25% as expected by economists and said another increase is likely later this year, most probably in December. The krone rose against the euro in response.
--Sweden's Riksbank lifted its policy rate to 4.0% from 3.75% as anticipated, and said it could tighten further as it fights both high inflation and a weak krona.
--In a decision that was seen as a toss-up, the European Central Bank last week increased its key deposit rate by a quarter point to 4.0% but signaled that rates may have peaked, leading the euro to slide against the dollar.