The Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to maintain the Bank Rate at 0.1%. The Committee voted unanimously for the Bank of England to continue with its existing programmes of UK government bond and sterling non-financial investment-grade corporate bond purchases, financed by the issuance of central bank reserves, maintaining the target for the total stock of these purchases at £745 billion.
Global activity has strengthened over recent months, although it generally remains below its level in 2019 Q4. Covid-19 has continued to spread rapidly within a number of emerging market economies, however, and there has been a renewed rise in cases in many advanced economies.
UK GDP is expected to have been over 20% lower in 2020 Q2 than in 2019 Q4. But higher-frequency indicators imply that spending has recovered significantly since the trough in activity in April. Payments data suggest that household consumption in July was less than 10% below its level at the start of the year. Housing market activity appears to have returned to close to normal levels, despite signs of a tightening in credit supply for some households. There is less evidence available on business spending, but surveys suggest that business investment is likely to have fallen markedly in Q2 and investment intentions remain very weak.
Employment appears to have fallen since the Covid-19 outbreak, although this has been very significantly mitigated by the extensive take-up of support from temporary government schemes. Surveys indicate that many workers have already returned to work from furlough, but considerable uncertainty remains about the prospects for employment after those support schemes unwind. In the near term, the unemployment rate is projected to rise materially, to around 7½% by the end of the year, consistent with a material degree of spare capacity.
The Committee will continue to monitor the situation closely and stands ready to adjust monetary policy accordingly to meet its remit. The MPC will keep under review the range of actions that could be taken to deliver its objectives. The Committee does not intend to tighten monetary policy until there is clear evidence that significant progress is being made in eliminating spare capacity and achieving the 2% inflation target sustainably.
At this meeting, the Committee judges that the existing stance of monetary policy remains appropriate
The next regularly scheduled MPC meeting is on Wednesday 16th September 2020 with the announcement to be published the following day on 17th September 2020.