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Bank of England Holds Back on New Stimulus

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Bank of England left its benchmark rate unchanged at 0.5 percent, a record low. Policymakers also kept the size of the asset purchase program unchanged at 375 billion pounds ($584 billion).

The pound rose to a session high against the dollar, up 0.33 percent at 1.5583, after the decision.

Most economists had expected no change in monetary policy. While the U.K. economy has been sluggish in recent months, there have been some signs of improving data in recent weeks.

The economy grew 0.3 percent in the first quarter, narrowly avoiding a triple-dip recession.

The Bank of England expanded its "funding for lending scheme" last month to boost bank lending for small businesses.

The lack of action by the Bank of England to expand monetary policy comes at a time when other central banks aren't sitting back. The European Central Bank and the Reserve Bank of Australia have both cut interest rates by a quarter point in the last week on growth concerns, while the Bank of Japan has pledged to double its government bond holdings in two years.