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Ian McCafferty and Michael Saunders again preferred a quarter point increase in rates as they judged the weakness in the first quarter GDP data to be temporary or erratic, heavily affected by adverse weather.

New Zealand central bank Governor Adrian Orr said in an interview on Thursday that the bank wants to see wages rise and start to drive up prices before it increases interest rates from a record low.

The committee voted seven to two to retain the BoE's benchmark rate at 0.5 percent. In that "hawkish hold" scenario, Patel sees the pound climbing toward $1.36.

In its May Inflation Report, the BoE revised its projected GDP growth expectations for the second quarter of 2018 down from the February estimate of 1.8% to 1.4%, while predicting inflation will fall to 2.4%, rather than 2.7% as previously forecast.

Uncertainty over Brexit likely swayed bank committee.

Despite the modest and likely short lived nature of the slowdown, there are some signs that a rate hike might not come even at the next MPC meeting in June. A Treasury representative also attends the meetings and can discuss policy issues but is not allowed to vote. The projections for 2019 and 2020 were left unchanged.

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The BoE said the economy would grow by 1.4 per cent this year, down from 1.8 per cent it predicted in February.

"The MPC continues to judge that the United Kingdom economy has a very limited degree of slack", the minutes said, noting that hiring intentions had remained strong and the jobless rate had continued to fall despite the sluggish growth in the first quarter of 2018.

The base rate is the "rate of interest [paid] on reserves held by commercial banks at the Bank of England". Higher interest rates exert downward pressure on inflation, and lower interest rates push it up.

"For borrowers approaching the end of their fixed terms and on tracker rates, the next few weeks could be crucial for looking at remortgage deals that could offer the security of a longer-term fixed option before the expected rate rises hit".

But the Bank's quarterly forecasts revealed there was some doubt around the underlying economic picture in the United Kingdom, noting "greater-than-usual uncertainty" over consumer spending.

It added it continued to believe an "ongoing tightening of monetary policy over the forecast period would be appropriate to return inflation sustainably to its target at a conventional horizon". Surveys have suggested little rebound last month.


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