The household spending number highlights the risks facing the consumer sector.

Further evidence that the US rate-tightening cycle may be approaching a pause was provided yesterday by a weaker-than-expected ISM report on the manufacturing sector and the release of a dovish set of minutes from the Fed's December meeting.

Today's report provides something for both the hawks and the doves on the Monetary Policy Committee. It is, however, unlikely to precipitate a change of policy when the Bank next meets.

We still expect the MPC to leave policy on hold when it meets in November, although a split vote is likely.

This proves it is not just the Mervyn King show. In any academic or business environment you are always going to have at least two views; that's what makes markets.

The debate on interest-rate cuts is still a live one.