The Monetary Policy Committee
Though the committee voted against further stimulus for the economy, two more members of the committee opted for an additional £25bn in asset purchases than in January, raising the prospect of some form of additional stimulus in the coming months.
Central banks such as the Bank of England use QE to inject money it has created into the economy by buying assets - typically government bonds - held by banks and other financial institutions. The Bank of England has bought up government bonds or gilts worth around £375bn since the start of the global financial crisis, but critics claim the measure has done little to improve the state of the economy while forcing up the cost of gilts and reducing the amount of income people could expect on buying pension annuities.
"Most surprising was the shift in stance of the Bank of England Governor, Sir Mervyn King, given his recent comments playing down the effectiveness of further asset purchases. Though the committee voted unanimously to maintain the Bank rate at 0.5%, the merits of lowering the base rate was discussed as an alternative policy option to additional gilt purchases, as was the possibility of purchasing alternative assets."
Hamish Smith, RBS Group Economics
The minutes also suggest that the MPC believes that further broad monetary stimulus itself might not be sufficient to boost the economy and therefore other targeted policy measures might be entertained, though many of these fell to other UK authorities.
Though Mark Carney, Governor-elect, doesn't take over the helm until July, his more pro-active comments may already be having an impact as the monetary policy discussion starts to get interesting.
Carney signals change to interest rate and inflation policy
7th February 2013
The incoming Bank of England Governor says the central bank could provide guidance on the future path for interest rates - a move that would help reduce uncertainty for those planning to buy a home or invest in a business.