The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Bank of England keeps interest rates at record low to assist economic recovery

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LONDON - The Bank of England has kept its benchmark interest rate at a record-low 0.5 per cent as new Governor Mark Carney presses ahead with a pledge to keep monetary policy loose until the economy improves substantially.

The decision was widely expected, as Carney has said the bank would refrain from raising rates until unemployment fell from the current 7.8 per cent to 7 per cent. The bank estimates that this could take about three years — but with the economy showing signs of life in recent weeks, economists have suggested the policy could end sooner than planned.

In a speech this month, Carney said the bank's task now is to secure the fledgling recovery and to offer a chance to develop into a period of sustained and robust growth.

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