Bank of England policy split deepens as three officials seek rate hike

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The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Ashtead up 23p at 1,600p, HSBC Holdings up 6p at 686.7p, Royal Bank of Scotland Group up 1.6p to 251.5p, and London Stock Exchange Group up 23p to 3,655p. Bonds fell, with the 10-year gilt yield rising 9 basis points to 1.02 percent.

Last week, Prime Minister May lost the Conservative parliamentary majority that she was hoping to keep, creating political uncertainty as the nation starts to negotiate its Brexit terms.

Investors had been expecting United States inflation to slow just slightly in May, from 2.2% to 2% year-on-year and from 0.2% to 0.1% month-on-month. The bank added that inflation expectations had also fallen since its last meeting.

On the other hand, three members placed more weight on the pick-up of inflation and the diminished slack on the labor market. The unemployment rate is 4.6 percent.

Mr Mould said: "The prospect of higher returns on cash is giving sterling a lift against the dollar (to almost $1.2750) and euro (€1.1390), especially as markets had previously thought the Bank of England would only look to increase interest rates from their record-low levels after Brexit in 2019".

However, this is Forbes' last month on the policy committee, and the committee is already one member short-so there will soon be two new people that can sway the vote.

In the policy summary, there were comments that the continued growth of employment could indicate that spare capacity in the economy is being eroded, lessening the trade-off that the MPC needs to balance and reducing the MPC's tolerance of above-target inflation.

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Britain's economy was the worst performer among the world's top seven advanced economies in the first quarter of this year as the effect of higher inflation caught up with consumers at a time of sluggish wage growth.

But the central bank said it was unclear how persistent this weakness would be, as consumer confidence remained solid.

Iceland's central bank lowered its key interest rate by another quarter point on Wednesday.

The minutes suggest that the BOE may be beginning to edge towards normalization, though Brexit and the cooling economy mean that its progress is likely to be cautious. Three of the Bank's monetary policy committee voted to increase rates whereas only one had been expected to.

"Last week's election unexpectedly gave us a hung parliament, and now it seems the MPC is also split down the middle", HSBC economists Elizabeth Martins and Chris Hare wrote in a note to clients.

At its latest policy meeting Thursday, the bank kept its main interest rate at a record low of 0.25 percent. What is perhaps more surprising is that the hawkish tendencies of the BoE have not been derailed by the return of political uncertainty following the election.

Governor Mark Carney was due to speak this evening at the annual high-profile Mansion House event in London's financial district, but the event was cancelled in light of the fire at Grenfell Tower, a residential block in west London, that killed at least 17 people. The BOE said in May that its economic forecasts assumed that Britain's adjustment to a new relationship with the European Union will be "smooth", avoiding a so-called cliff edge.