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MPC almost unanimous over rate freeze

The Bank of England's monetary policy committee voted 8-1 to keep interest rates at 5.5 per cent at January's meeting. According to the minutes of the meeting, only David Blanchflower voted against the move citing the need to address the fears of retailers over diminishing sales. The bank will meet again to decide rates on February 7th, with analysts anticipating that the mpc will cut rates in the face of subsequent fears over the state of the economy. Philip Shaw, chief economist at Investec, told Reuters: "We stand by our view that rates will come down again next month but barring a sudden deterioration in the growth outlook the Monetary Policy Committee is unlikely to ease aggressively. "The fact that GDP growth in the fourth quarter held up relatively well supports that view."News of the minutes of the meeting come as Mervyn King this week implied that the mpc remains committed to keeping inflation at two per cent and that a degree of market turbulence may be inevitable in the short term.

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