LONDON (AP) _ The Bank of England kept its key lending rate unchanged at 6 percent Thursday for the sixth month in a row.

The base lending rate is what Britain's central bank charges other financial institutions and is an important factor in determining what commercial banks charge for loans to businesses and individuals.

The bank's Monetary Policy Committee gave no immediate explanation for its decision. The committee last raised the base rate in February from its previous level of 5.75 percent.

Analysts suggested that a slowdown in the property market, and a consequent easing of concerns about inflation, may have influenced the committee's decision.

Manufacturers and exporters feared a rate hike would cause the pound to strengthen and make British goods less competitive against products from other countries.