Not a single member of the Bank of England's interest-setting committee made a theoretical case for raising the cost of borrowing, let alone cutting it, at their meeting this month before all seven voted to leave well alone.
This was revealed yesterday in the Bank's minutes of the Monetary Policy Commit-tee's meeting on July 5 and 6. The committee members also agreed there were "significant risks in both directions" to the Bank's assessment of inflation prospects.
But their overwhelming unanimity helped calm fears the sharp jump in last month's inflation reported by National Statistics on Tuesday could trigger a knee-jerk interest rate increase.
"The message is the committee is on the fence," commented Alan Clarke, UK economist at BNP Paribas.
The minutes showed the Committee took the view most recent developments were broadly in line with Bank projections in its latest Inflation Report in May, including the rise to 2.2 per cent, above the Bank's two per cent target.
The tone of that report indicated interest rates probably need to rise, but not in any hurry, a prospect that could remain consistent with last month's jump in year-on-year inflation to 2.5 per cent. The committee took reassurance from signs the public expectation of inflation edged down after rising this year. The Bank has been worried expectations of rising inflation could lead to ambitious pay claims to meet rises in utility bills and petrol prices.
Instead, yesterday's minutes noted: "Earnings growth remained subdued, perhaps as firms squeezed labour costs in the face of rising input and import prices.
"The expansion of the labour force with continued inflows of migrants and rising participation rates may also have subdued wage growth."
But there was also a possibility an unexpectedly strong increase in those in work could boost labour incomes.
Risks that could drive inflation below the Bank's target included the possibility of more shares falls and other assets and a more protracted US economic slowdown.
The committee also noted a relationship between rising energy and import costs and low domestically-generated inflation.
This lowered the probability inflation would settle below the target once higher energy effects faded.
Only seven members of the committee attended this month's meeting. David Walton died suddenly last month while former Financial Times editor Richard Lambert left in March to succeed Sir Digby Jones as director general of the CBI.
Chancellor Gordon Brown has named Prof Timothy Besley of the London School of Economics and British Airways' chief economist, Andrew Sentance, to replace them on the committee.