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Bank holds base rate

The Bank of England has held interest rates at their current level, as had been widely predicted.Analysts had suggested that the most likely course of action for the bank's monetary policy committee (MPC) would be to keep the base rate at its current level of 5.5 per cent, despite calls from various sectors to cut the rate.The MPC cut the base rate by a quarter point last month in an effort to boost Christmas spending among consumers and although there were calls for this to be followed up with a second cut in rates at the start of this year, the bank may also have been concerned that a second cut so soon could send out signals of worry to the financial markets.It has been widely predicted that the UK base rate will be cut by the MPC early in 2008 as it looks to ease the pressure in the lending markets, where the global credit crunch has begun to hit home.

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