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Oct 22, 4:57 AM EDT

Bank of England keeps interest rates steady amid pessimism about global economy

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LONDON (AP) -- Bank of England policymakers remain split on raising interest rates, voting 7-2 at their last meeting to maintain a record low rate of 0.5 percent amid increasing pessimism about the global economy.

Minutes from the meeting held Oct. 7-8, released Wednesday, show that policymakers opted to hold the line despite calls from some quarters to begin raising rates gradually. Martin Weale and Ian McCafferty remained the only two voting for a hike and argued that the labor market is tightening.

The decision comes days after the bank's chief economist signaled he's gloomy about the economy despite a growth rate that is the envy of many G-7 countries. Andrew Haldane says global uncertainty and stagnant wage growth made him believe interest rates should remain low for a while yet.

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