Bank of England Cuts Rates, Starts Asset Purchases

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by ASusilovic, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. March 5 (Bloomberg) -- The Bank of England reduced the benchmark interest rate to the lowest ever and said it would start purchasing 75 billion pounds ($105 billion) in assets, printing money to fight the recession.

    The bank’s nine-member panel, led by Governor Mervyn King, cut the rate a half point to 0.5 percent, the lowest since the bank was founded in 1694. The decision matched the median forecast of 60 economists in a Bloomberg News survey.

    King’s Monetary Policy Committee wants to pump newly printed money into the economy to alleviate a worsening recession as interest rates approach zero and lose their potency. Prime Minister Gordon Brown yesterday called on nations around the world to follow the U.S. and U.K. lead by cutting borrowing costs and spending more to battle the recession.

    “We’re moving into a new world in the U.K. from interest- rate adjustment to quantitative easing,” said Charles Goodhart, a former Bank of England policy maker. “It’s a great deal more uncertain how things will be done. This month what the MPC says is going to be much more important than what they do.”

    In a statement accompanying the decision, the bank said it may take up to three months to carry out the asset purchases. Most of the assets will be U.K. government bonds known as gilts. The bank will hold a open market operation tomorrow.

    The Bank of England has now reduced the key rate 4.5 percentage points since October. The U.S. Federal Reserve kept its benchmark at a range of zero to 0.25 percent last month. The European Central Bank will probably cut its rate a half- point to 1.5 percent at 1:45 p.m. in Frankfurt, according to all 55 economists in a Bloomberg News survey.

    The magic has just begun...

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