£200m quantitative easing 'slowly taking effect'

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The Independent Online

New figures today offered hope that the Bank of England's £200 billion aid to the economy is slowly taking effect.

The Bank's preferred measure of bank and building society deposits and cash in the economy rose 0.9 per cent - or £14.3 billion - in November after declining in the two previous months.



Lending grew 1.1 per cent, representing a £23.3 billion increase after a £13.2 billion fall in October.



The figures will be of some comfort to the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) after the minutes of its December meeting described growth in the money supply as "disappointing".



Experts were encouraged by the data but warned over reading too much into often-volatile monthly figures.



Colin Ellis at Daiwa Capital Markets Europe said: "It remains to be seen whether they mark the start of a sustained improvement in broad money and credit."



He added that November's lending was still below levels seen in March when the Bank launched its quantitative easing (QE) strategy - and the money supply only £17 billion higher despite the £180 billion pumped in so far.



"We remain concerned that QE will have only a limited impact on the real economy, as it did in Japan," Mr Ellis added.



The figures showed month-on-month growth in money holdings among private non-financial firms rising for the fifth time in six months. This pushed annual money growth to 4.8 per cent - the highest since before the recession began in February last year.



The MPC is expected to keep interest rates at record lows and leave the scale of QE unchanged at £200 billion in its latest policy meeting later this week.



The asset purchases will continue until next month, when rate-setters are expected to review the policy alongside their latest inflation forecasts.

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