Bank of England holds interest rates at 0.5% until after general election

Not since Clement Attlee’s Labour government was elected following the second world war have rates remained unchanged for the duration of a parliament

Britain will go a whole parliament without an increase in interest rates for the first time since the immediate aftermath of the second world war, after the Bank of England left official borrowing costs on hold.

Threadneedle Street said it had left the bank rate unchanged at 0.5% following the meeting of its nine-strong monetary policy committee, extending a run that began more than six years ago when Gordon Brown was prime minister and Alistair Darling chancellor.

Related: From MacDonald to Cameron: UK interest rates and prime ministers

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Widening UK trade deficit prompts fears for growth

Analysts warn recovery may be waning as ONS reports deficit on goods and services nearly doubled in February to £2.9bn from £1.5bn

Britain’s trade deficit with the rest of the world widened sharply in February, in the latest sign that economic growth may have moderated in the first quarter of the year.

The Office for National Statistics said the deficit on goods and services was

10 Thursday AM Reads

Its a “mixed” batch of news this morning, but we never let that stop us from curating the best damned morning train reads in the business:

• IT’S NOT 1999 (Stratechery) see also Monitoring Bubble Risk In The US Stock Market (The Capital Spectator)
• Oil Prices Tumble as Supplies Hit New Record (WSJ)
• Job Openings Climb to Highest Level in 14 Years, But Hiring Declines (Real Time Economics) see also Job Openings in the U.S. Rose in February to 14-Year High (Bloomberg)
• A comparison of investor sentiment indicators (Behavioral Quant)
• Are Emerging Markets Still An Asset Class? (A Wealth of Common Sense)

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Is there a black hole in Scotland’s public finances?

The arithmetic of Scottish financial independence has changed drastically since last year’s referendum

Nicola Sturgeon faced criticism in the Scottish leaders’ debate on Wednesday night over the tax and spending implications of giving Scotland full financial independence.

Before last September’s referendum there were questions about the Scottish National party’s fiscal plans, set out in their manifesto Scotland’s Future. The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies said several factors, including Scotland’s more rapidly ageing population, meant there was likely to be a long-term shortfall.

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