Bank of England to keep recovery hopes in check

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    LONDON- The Bank of England will probably try to keep a lid on expectations that Britain’s economy is heading for a strong, vaccine-boosted recovery after suffering its worst crash in three centuries last year.

    The central bank is not expected to change its huge, crisis-fighting stimulus program after its March policy meetings.

    Instead, investors will be trying to gauge how confident it is that Europe’s fastest COVID-19 vaccination campaign and yet more spending and tax cuts in finance minister Rishi Sunak’s March 3 budget will trigger a bounce-back in the months ahead.

    BoE Governor Andrew Bailey said on Monday he was more optimistic about the recovery.

    But he stressed his view came “with a large dose of caution” with Britain still in the grip of a third lockdown and facing the risk of new COVID-19 variants.

    The health service warned on Wednesday of a big reduction in available vaccines from March 29.

    Bailey also said a jump in interest rates in financial markets – from almost record-low levels – was consistent with the better outlook, suggesting he was not worried about investors pricing in BoE rate hikes starting next year.