Yesterday (6 March 2014), the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee…’voted to maintain Bank Rate at 0.5%. The Committee also voted to maintain the stock of purchased assets financed by the issuance of central bank reserves at £375 billion.’
Apart from a brief burst of excitement in July 2012 (when an additional £50 billion was added to the asset purchase facility) and in August 2013 (when the Inflation Report introduced the policy of Forward Guidance), that is pretty much the same statement that has decorated MPC press releases for five years now. Five years. Bank Rate has been at 0.5% for five years.
In modern monetary policy, there’s only one thing more remarkable than five consecutive years of near-zero interest rates; six consecutive years of near-zero interest rates. And that’s where I think we’re heading. As it stands, I expect a rate rise – of just 0.25% – in March or April next year. March, being the anniversary, has a certain symmetry to it.