Bank of England expected to spend new £100bn

The extra spending is part of the Bank’s asset purchase programme, in which it has so far bought £70 billion in assets

                                

The Bank of England is expected to spend at least another £100 billion to stimulate the UK economy and stabilise financial markets.

Economists are almost unanimous in predicting the bank’s Monetary Policy Committee will keep the benchmark rate unchanged at 0.1 per cent but extend its quantitative easing (QE) programme. 

The extra spending is part of the Bank’s asset purchase programme, in which it has so far bought £70 billion in assets since the programme was introduced on March 19.

At the start of the coronavirus crisis, the UK central bank cut interest rates from 0.75 per cent to 0.1 per cent and announced a £200bn new programme of QE, raising the total target purchases to £645bn in two emergency meetings in March. 

Since the March 19 meeting, the BoE has bought £148bn of existing gilts, or government bonds, currently at a rate of almost £14bn a week. It has also bought £152bn of newly issued gilts. 

The cost of government borrowing has fallen, with debt sold at an interest rate of 0.2 per cent for the 10-year bond on Tuesday. 

With bond purchases at their current rate, the QE programme is set to run out in early July, so economists almost all expect an extension with the only uncertainty over the amount. 

Andrew Bailey, BoE governor, said last week the central bank was “ready to act”. However he has given no update on his attitude towards negative interest rates since the U-turn in May. Then he said the question of setting a negative rate was under “active review”.

FURTHER READING: UK economy suffers largest monthly contraction on record

 

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