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Last week the Bank of England surprised observers by striking an unexpectedly dovish stance, apparently delaying a keenly anticipated interest rate rise until next year despite a strengthening economy. With the Bank downgrading its short-term forecasts for inflation, only one member of its nine-strong Monetary Policy Committee voted in favour of a rate increase, leaving an overwhelming 8-1 majority in favour of keeping borrowing costs at their current level of 0.5%. The rebound in second-quarter GDP “confirms weakness at the start of the year was merely temporary,” the National Institute of Economic and Social Research said in its quarterly review. June’s UK industrial production figures highlighted that the strong pound and weak overseas demand held back the manufacturing sector’s recovery in the second quarter.

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Surging travel stocks helped push European markets higher at the opening on Tuesday, spurred on by fresh Covid-19 vaccine hopes and news that US President-elect Joe Biden can officially start …
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