Bank expected to keep rate untouched

The highlight this week will be the meeting of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee (MPC) to set UK lending rates, although a freeze is widely anticipated.

Sterling started the week at $1.86935, €1.47585 and 221.155 yen.

Recent comments by MPC members suggest interest rates will hold steady this month and a poll of economists by Reuters last week showed there was a 75 per cent chance that rates would stick this month and increase in November.

Today, Tesco will post its half-year results, with many taking the health of the supermarket giant as a yardstick for the state of consumer spending.

The firm's profits for the first half of the year could be over £1 billion.

In aviation both easyJet and British Airways will release passenger figures for September.

BP will also issue a trading update on Wednesday. The Observer reports that the firm could miss production goals following the closure of operations in Alaska.

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