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Bank of England keeps policy unchanged after October meeting

LONDON, Oct 10 (Reuters) - The Bank of England kept its monetary policy unchanged on Thursday as expected, sticking to its commitment to keep interest rates steady while unemployment remains high.

The central bank made no change to its 375 billion pounds ($597 billion) of asset purchases or to its main interest rate - which has stood at a record-low 0.5 percent since March 2009 - following the Oct. 8-9 meeting of its Monetary Policy Committee.

Britain's economy has shown signs of further recovery this month, diminishing the prospect of more asset purchases, which had been backed by a minority of policymakers until new Governor Mark Carney unveiled his forward guidance strategy in August.

Carney said the central bank would not raise interest rates before the unemployment rate - currently 7.7 percent - falls to 7 percent, unless inflation threatens to get out of control.

The BoE forecasts it will take until late 2016 before unemployment falls this far, despite strengthening economic growth, but most private-sector economists think unemployment will fall much faster, and financial markets price in a rate rise as soon as early 2015.

Earlier this week the International Monetary Fund revised up Britain's economic growth prospects by the biggest amount of any advanced economy, forecasting growth of 1.4 percent this year and 1.9 percent for 2014.

The MPC made no statement alongside its monetary policy announcement, as usual, and details of its discussions will not be published until the release of minutes on Oct. 23.