The U.K. central bank kept monetary policy unchanged on Thursday, as analysts pondered when interest rates might finally be raised and the possible impact of a referendum on European Union (EU) membership.
The Bank of England (BoE) held its benchmark interest rate at a record low of 0.5 percent, where it has remained since March 2009. It also kept the size of its bond purchases under the quantitative easing (QE) program at £375 billion ($579 billion).
The policy announcement comes one month after the incumbent Conservative Party returned to power in the U.K.—an election result that surprised and reassured markets, which had not expected the center-right party to gain a working majority.
"It's 'back to business' for a BoE now able to look past May's election and the bulk of the oil price fall," said Neil Williams, chief economist at Hermes Investment Management, in a research note on Thursday.
"The economic recovery is broadening, yet the Monetary Policy Committee's adherence to a 2 percent CPI (consumer price index) inflation target makes a rate hike difficult before 2016."