Mixed data as MPC meeting starts

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The Independent Online

The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee began deliberating yesterday whether to lift interest rates above their record low 0.5 per cent, as a raft of economic data was published.

House prices fell by 0.1 per cent in April, according to the Halifax Building Society, reversing a downwardly revised increase of 1 per cent in March. Halifax said that the average house in the Britain was now worth £168,202.

While the marginal movement in house price data may not affect the MPC's decision, which analysts believe will be to keep rates at the current level, the Bank's Governor, Mervyn King, and his colleagues will take notice of the latest factory gate price data published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics.

Producer prices jumped by 5.7 per cent in the year to April, much more than the consensus economists' forecast of 4.6 per cent, the ONS said. The MPC will announce its decision on Monday.