INTERNATIONAL NEWS - The Bank of England on Thursday slashed its estimates for UK economic growth this year and next, one day before the country exits the European Union.
It came as BoE policymakers, in governor Mark Carney's final monetary policy meeting, voted to keep its main interest rate at 0.75 percent by a 7-2 majority.
Some analysts had expected Carney to have joined the ranks of those demanding a quarter-point rate cut to 0.50 percent.
The minutes of the latest meeting showed that two doveish policymakers had cited "downside risks" to the bank's projections arising from "Brexit uncertainties and a weaker world outlook".
While not agreeing to a rate cut to help prop up Britain's economy, the central bank did predict troubles ahead.
The British economy would expand by only 0.8 percent this year, the BoE said, down sharply on its previous 1.2-percent forecast.
In 2021, gross domestic product was expected to grow by 1.4 percent, down on November's estimate of 1.7 percent.
Britain departs the European Union on Friday ahead of an 11-month transition period during which time Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative government will seek to strike new trade deals with the EU and countries worldwide.
Carney - soon to become UN special envoy on climate action and finance - steps down as BoE chief in March.
Andrew Bailey, head of the UK's Financial Conduct Authority regulator, replaces Carney after the incumbent agreed to put back his departure three times to help steer the British economy through Brexit's delays.
An economic boost provided by the country's post-election political stability is not expected to have a lasting impact despite government promises of major infrastructure spending.
The near-term health of Britain's economy will also be dictated by how key events - ongoing US-China trade talks and fallout from the spreading deadly coronavirus - will impact global growth, according to analysts.
Carney took up the post in July 2013, with the UK economy struggling to recover from the global financial crisis and the Bank of England's main interest rate at a then record-low 0.50 percent.
Following Britain's 2016 referendum vote in favour of leaving the European Union, Carney led the BoE in slashing the rate to a new low of 0.25 percent.
It rose back to 0.75 percent to help curb UK inflation caused by a Brexit-fuelled weak pound pushing up import costs.