Bank of England slashes interest rates again amid coronavirus measures



The Bank of England has announced a second cut to interest rates amid a series of measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has voted to bring the interest rate to 0.1%, down from 0.25%, the lowest rate in its history and the second cut in just over a week.

The Bank and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) today announced a number of measures aimed at alleviating operational burdens on PRA-regulated firms and Bank-regulated financial market infrastructures (FMIs).

The measures, set out in full on the Bank website, include the cancellation of the Bank’s 2020 annual stress test; amendments to the biennial exploratory scenario (BES) timetable; and the postponement of the joint Bank and FCA survey into open-ended funds.

The decision to cancel the 2020 stress test for the eight major UK banks and building societies is intended to help lenders focus on meeting the needs of UK households and businesses via the continuing provision of credit.

Suren Thiru, head of economics of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “The decision to cut interest rates to their lowest ever levels and restart quantitative easing reflects an increasingly dire near-term outlook for the UK economy.

“This may give a short-term boost to market confidence, but will have little long-term effect unless it translates to practical support for businesses. It is critical that the Bank of England works with financial institutions to ease cash flow challenges for firms on the ground in this increasingly turbulent period.”

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