Bank of England stops £200bn quantitative easing programme

The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has halted its £200bn quantitative easing (QE)

The bank's unprecedented asset-buying initiative to inject money into the economy was the most radical easing of monetary conditions in the entire financial history of Britain.

The MPC has however warned that the economy is undergoing a "sluggish" recovery. It has kept its options open for more QE measures, not ruling out a return to the policy in future. The committee stressed that it was merely pausing, and not completely halting, the QE programme.

"The committee will continue to monitor the appropriate scale of the asset purchase programme and further purchases would be made should the outlook warrant them," the MPC said.

The Bank of England (BoE) also held interest rates at 0.5 per cent, the lowest in more than 300 years of its history. Although the bank's decision to halt QE had been expected, the announcement pushed gilt prices to fall slightly.

The QE experiment began in March 2009 when the BoE started buying assets, mostly government bonds, with a budget of £150bn. This was expanded to £200bn by January in an effort to boost the economy. The newly-created money was exhausted last week.

Many other central banks have adopted similar financial policies in the wake of the global economic crisis.

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