The Bank of England (BoE) left interest rates and its asset purchase target unchanged on Thursday, as an improving economy continues to add to speculation that a rate hike could be round the corner.
As expected, the bank decided to hold off on adding to the £375 billion ($628 billion) of asset purchases it has unleashed over previous years and kept its main benchmark rate at a record low of 0.5 percent. The decision tallied with a Reuters poll of 55 economists who all predicted that the current rate would remain unchanged.
Despite not announcing any change in policy, the "Old Lady of Threadneedle Street" is poised for action in the not-too-distant future. The same Reuters poll this week gave a 40 percent chance of a rate hike before the end of 2014. Analysts from Santander evenly boldly gave the possibility a 100 percent chance by the end of the year, eyeing a 25 basis point rise in the fourth quarter.