The Bank of England's decision to leave its official interest rate unchanged at 5.75 per cent for a fourth month in a row drew a mostly stoical response from the West Midlands, coupled with unanimous calls for a cut at the earliest opportunity this winter.
The tone was set by Katie Teasdale, policy adviser at Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who said: "While a cut in rates is always preferable for businesses, we have to be realistic and look at the whole picture, just as the Bank of England does.
"With so much turmoil in the economy at the moment there needs to be stability from somewhere to enable everyone to take stock. Businesses have proven to be remarkably robust through this difficult period, but we know that cannot last for ever.
"What we want the Bank to do over the next month is keep an eye on how businesses are being affected and then, if needed, take decisive action with an interest rate cut in December or January of at least a quarter point."
David Burton, chairman of the Confederation of West Midlands Chambers of Commerce, added: "This is a difficult period for businesses in all sectors right across the region.
"Interest rates have gone up twice in 2007 and have been at this high level for four months now and while our members have generally coped, more and more are beginning to feel the pinch.
"Calls for a cut in December could be deafening and we hope the monetary policy committee is wise enough to respond."
Sue Yates, president of Solihull Chamber, agreed, saying: "The credit crunch is undoubtedly having an effect," she said, "and we hope to see a rate cut next month that will re-ignite investment and a stuttering economy."
Peter Mathews, president of the Midlands World Trade Forum, commented: "The dollar is at record highs and the pound remains strong against the euro. While this is great news for holiday-makers and importers, it is not so great for exporters trying to find new markets.
"An interest rate cut would have helped to realign the currencies and we hope to get some cheer from the Bank either in the run up to Christmas or early in the New Year."
David Waller, West Midland chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers, was confident that the Bank was right, for the time being.
"A period of stability is needed to allow business to recover, particularly in the light of surging oil prices and the strong pound," he said. "Attention will now turn to the possibility of a rate cut before the end of the year and fears that continued high rates will lead to a damaging slowdown in 2008.