LONDON, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Bank of England meeting minutes showed the nine-member monetary policy committee was divided on whether or not it would expand asset purchases.
The U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan both agreed to securities purchase increases in recent meetings, but the Bank of England's decision makers left their monetary policy intact after an early October meeting.
The minutes of that meeting, released Wednesday, said "There were, as ever, limits to what monetary policy could be expected to achieve."
"Some members," the notes continue, "felt that there was still considerable hope for asset purchases to provide further stimulus. Others, while acknowledged that asset purchases had the scope to lower long-term yields further, questioned the magnitude of the impact that lower long-term yields on corporate debt and equity would have on the broader economy."
The decision-making committee said that inflation in Britain was "a little above the 2 percent target," and was expected to remain muted. Economists in general fear that adding stimulus to the economy is one way to instigate more inflation.
In the meantime, the minutes said, "Overall there were many factors that could help explain the weakness of productivity growth."
Near to an official recession, the BOE is caught between keeping inflation in check and trying to push a sliding economy forward.
At several points, the minutes report that committee members believe there are many reasons the economy has slowed. "Indeed different factors had probably been in play at different times," the minutes explain.
There were some puzzles unsolved. "Employment had continued to grow strongly despite little change in underlying activity," the BOE said. But it also noted the positive impact of previous asset purchases.
"On the household side, that response (to a survey) had been positive: Mortgage availability was reported to have increased markedly ... and was expected to increase further," the bank said.
The impact was less pronounced for corporations, however, with loan availability "broadly unchanged," the bank said.
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