Mar 5, 7:01 AM EST

Bank of England keeps interest rates steady and refrains from pumping money into the economy

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LONDON (AP) -- The Bank of England has opted to keep interest rates steady at 0.5 percent even as the economic recovery brings the prospect of rate hikes closer.

The rates have been at the same level since March 2009, during the global financial crisis. But with annual inflation at 0.3 percent, and the possibility of an outright drop in prices in coming months, there was little pressure on policymakers to act Thursday.

Governor Mark Carney has suggested rates could fall if inflation remains low, but said that's unlikely. Carney has said he expects the next move in bank policy to be a rate rise.

Samuel Tombs, economist at Capital Economics, says the bank is likely to remain in "wait and see" mode until the summer, when things should become clearer.

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