Quentin D. Solano
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Quentin D. Solano in Breaking news,

5 things investors need to know as the Bank of England prepares for historic rate hike

It’s crunch time for the Bank of England.

The U.K. central bank is widely expected to deliver its first rate increase in more than a decade on Thursday, embarking on the process of ending years of ultraloose monetary conditions that were brought in as a response to the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

But it isn’t going to be an easy call for the policy makers on Threadneedle Street. While the current 3% inflation rate screams for a rate rise, the U.K.’s economic growth is still weak and there is lingering uncertainty about Brexit. That has raised concerns that a tightening could strangle consumer and business spending.

The BOE’s interest rate decision, minutes from the deliberations and the Quarterly Inflation Report are all due to come out at noon London time, or 8 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, followed by a news conference with Gov. Mark Carney at 12:30 p.m. London time.

What’s expected?

After strong hints from Carney and other policy makers, the bank is expected to lift its benchmark interest rate from the all-time low of 0.25% to 0.5%. That would essentially undo the “emergency” rate cut from August last year, when the central bank slashed rates by 25 basis points in response to the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union.

A decision to hike rates this week is unlikely to be unanimous, however. At least two of the nine policy makers are expected to vote against an increase, and further dissenters could give the decision a dovish tilt.

Bank of England
U.K. interest rates last went up in July 2007
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