Bank of England holds rates as Mervyn King bows out

LONDON (AFP) - The Bank of England (BoE) voted on Thursday to keep its main interest rate at 0.50 per cent, where it has stood for more than four years under the guidance of departing Governor Mervyn King.

Also at Mr King's last meeting, the central bank decided against creating more cash under its Quantitative Easing (QE) programme that is aimed at supporting Britain's fragile economic recovery.

"The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee today voted to maintain the official Bank Rate paid on commercial bank reserves at 0.5 per cent," the central bank said following an ordinary two-day meeting.

"The Committee also voted to maintain the stock of asset purchases financed by the issuance of central bank reserves at 375 billion pounds (S$722 billion)."

Minutes of the monthly meeting, explaining the reasons behind the voting pattern of the Committee's nine members, including Mr King, will be published on June 19, the statement added.

Mr King, who has led the Bank of England for a decade, will at the end of the month make way for Mr Mark Carney, who last week stepped down as governor of the Bank of Canada.

The BoE has kept its main interest rate at a record-low 0.50 per cent - and has pumped a total of 375 billion pounds into Britain's economy under QE - since early 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis.