Wednesday preview: All eyes on the MPC minutes

The minutes from the latest Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting are due on Wednesday morning, with markets waiting to hear the reasons behind the Bank of England's (BoE) decision to hold rates and quantitative easing (QE).

The minutes from the latest Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting are due on Wednesday morning, with markets waiting to hear the reasons behind the Bank of England's (BoE) decision to hold rates and quantitative easing (QE).

The MPC voted on December 6th to maintain the official Bank Rate at 0.5% and its current asset purchase programme at £375bn.

According to Investec analyst Victoria Clarke, the MPC decided to hold fire on more money printing as last month's plan to transfer £35bn of coupons from the Asset Purchase Facility to the Treasury "would have a similar effect to more QE".

"Arguably the weak recent run of UK economic data edges the BoE in the direction of further policy easing at some point in the New Year, damping (at least domestically driven) inflation pressures and potentially implying inflation could drop back a touch more quickly in the medium term," Clarke said.

"However, the more tricky question for the BoE right now, perhaps more so than its view of inflation's path, is whether the Bank is confident enough that QE would provide a sufficient boost to the economy overall, under current macro conditions."

Analysts at Barclays Research expect the MPC to have voted unanimously in favour to maintain interest rates, unchanged from the last meeting. The vote to keep QE at £375bn is also expected to be unchanged from the November meeting, with eight voting in favour and one against (David Miles voted last month to increase QE by £25bn).

INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE

Vedanta Resources

INTERIM EX-DIVIDEND DATE

Betfair Group, Burberry Group, Greene King, Halfords Group, JPMorgan Euro Small Co. Trust, Juridica Investments Ltd., United Utilities Group

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS

Balance of Payments (EU) (09:00)

Balance of Trade (EU) (10:00)

Building Permits (US) (13:30)

Crude Oil Inventories (US) (15:30)

Current Account (EU) (09:00)

Housing Starts (US) (13:30)

IFO Business Climate (GER) (09:00)

IFO Current Assessment (GER) (09:00)

IFO Expectations (GER) (09:00)

MBA Mortgage Applications (US) (12:00)

GMS

Adventis Group, Invensys

SPECIAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE

Lancashire Holdings

EGMS

EMED Mining Public Ltd., JSC Acron GDR (Reg S)

AGMS

AXA Property Trust Ltd, Craven House Capital, Kedco, Noble Investments (UK), Sportingbet, Westmount Energy Ltd.

UK ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS

BoE Interest Rate Minutes (09:30)

CBI Distributive Trades Surveys (11:00)

FINAL EX-DIVIDEND DATE

Artemis VCT, Carr's Milling Industries, JPMorgan Chinese Inv Trust, OMG, Sportingbet

BC

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