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Interest rates expected to remain unchanged

Analysts are predicting a decrease in interest rates - but not until February at the earliest.A poll of experts has suggested that the Bank of England's monetary policy committee (MPC) will not lower the base rate when it announces its monthly decision this month, with most people expecting it to keep interest rates at their current level.Last month, the MPC lowered the base rate by 0.25 per cent to 5.5 per cent, but despite continued concerns from a number of sectors over a slowing UK economy, it is anticipated that the members of the MPC will favour holding rates where they are.However, the experts are of the belief that a cut in interest rates may not be too far off, with some suggesting that February could be the month that sees the MPC take action once again.Howard Archer, UK chief economist at Global Insight, suggested that the vote would be a "very tight call" this month, as inflationary pressures battle with the slowing housing sector for predominance in the minds of the MPC's members.

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