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BoE's Vlieghe sees interest rates rising once or twice a year

LONDON, March 23 (Reuters) - Bank of England rate-setter Gertjan Vlieghe said on Friday that interest rates will probably need to rise once or twice a year over the next few years, comments that will further bolster investors' expectations of a BoE rate hike in May.

Speaking after two of his colleagues on the Monetary Policy Committee split ranks this week by voting to raise interest rates this month, Vlieghe said was he increasingly confident that inflation pressure was building in Britain's economy.

So long as a strong global economy continues to help Britain shrug off the negative effects of the 2016 Brexit vote, and provided wage pressure continues to grow, then the BoE will need to raise interest rates, Vlieghe said.

"The current central outlook is, in my view, consistent with one or two quarter-point rate increases per year over the forecast period," Vlieghe said in a speech due to be given to business representatives in Birmingham.

The BoE kept rates steady at 0.5 percent on Thursday but two of its nine policymakers - Ian McCafferty and Michael Saunders - unexpectedly voted for a hike, reinforcing the view among economists that borrowing costs will rise in May for only the second time since the 2008 financial crisis. (Reporting by Andy Bruce)