Due to the ongoing weak recovery, the Bank of England decided Thursday to loosen monetary policy further by boosting the size of its asset purchase program by another £50 billion ($78.9 billion).
The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee voted to maintain the official bank rate at 0.5%, and to increase the size of its asset purchase program to a total of £325 billion. The Bank began asset purchases in March 2009 with a £200 billion program, and that was increased by another £75 billion in October 2011.
“In the light of its most recent economic projections, the committee judged that the weak near-term growth outlook and associated downward pressure from economic slack meant that, without further monetary stimulus, it was more likely than not that inflation would undershoot the 2% target in the medium term,” it said in explaining the move.
The Bank noted that the underlying pace of recovery slowed during 2011, and the pace of expansion in the UK’s main export markets has also slowed and concerns remain about the indebtedness and competitiveness of some euro-area countries.
“A gradual strengthening of output growth later this year should be supported by a gentle recovery in household real incomes as inflation falls, together with the continued stimulus from monetary policy. But the drag from tight credit conditions and the fiscal consolidation together present a headwind. The correspondingly weak outlook for near-term output growth means that a significant margin of economic slack is likely to persist,” it said.
At the same time, the Governing Council of the European Central Bank left its rates unchanged.