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The Latest: Bank of England raises key interest rate

August 2, 2018

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the Bank of England’s monetary policy announcement (all times local):

12:00 p.m.

The Bank of England has raised its main interest rate for only the second time since the economic crisis of 20008.

The bank’s Monetary Policy Committee voted Thursday to increase the rate by a quarter point to 0.75 percent despite growing concern about the lack of progress in Brexit talks.

Economic figures have been mixed of late. The jobs market is in good health, with unemployment at its lowest since the 1970s, and inflation is above the 2 percent target, at 2.4 percent. The Bank of England’s main job is to make sure inflation remains around 2 percent.

But growth has been weak so far this year, people are not spending much and companies are worried about Brexit. Britain and the EU have hardened in their negotiating positions and businesses are preparing for the prospect of Britain crashing out of the bloc without a deal on a new trade relationship.

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9:45 a.m.

The Bank of England is expected to raise its benchmark interest rate for only the second time since the 2008 financial crisis as it weighs a strong jobs market and high inflation against concerns about Brexit.

Economists forecast that the bank’s Monetary Policy Committee will raise the rate from 0.50 percent to 0.75 percent, the highest level since March 2009. Three of the panel’s nine members voted to raise rates last month, indicating growing support for an increase.

Since then, economic figures have been mixed. Employment is at the highest since records began in 1971 and inflation is above the 2 percent target, at 2.4 percent. But growth has been weak this year, people are not spending much and companies are worried about the lack of progress in Brexit talks.

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