The Bank of England said the UK economy has hit a “temporary soft patch” as it kept interest rates on hold at 0.5%.
The Bank cut its growth forecast for the year to 1.4%, down from the forecast of 1.8% made in February.
The Bank says that cut is almost entirely due to the disruption to the economy caused by bad weather in March.
However, Bank governor Mark Carney said in an interview with BBC economics editor Kamal Ahmed that “it’s likely” rates will rise this year.
In a press conference after the rates decision was announced, Mr Carney said the “underlying pace of growth remains more resilient than the headline data suggests”.
As recently as February economists were expecting the Bank to raise interest rates this month.
That view changed after figures released last month showed that the economy grew by just 0.1% in the first three months of the year.
The slowdown was caused by the Beast from the East – severe weather which shut down construction sites, kept shoppers at home and caused transport chaos.
However, the Bank described that as a “temporary soft patch” with “few implications” for the outlook for the economy.
The financial markets are now indicating there will be an interest rate increase towards the end of the year followed by another in 2019, and a further one in 2020.
Movements in the Bank’s official rates can have big effects on UK households. A rise would mean that about four million households with variable or tracker rate mortgages would see an increase in their monthly payments, while an increase would benefit the nation’s 45 million savers.
Mr Carney sets interest rates with a team of eight other experts that form the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
At the latest meeting, seven members voted to keep interest rates on hold and two, Ian McCafferty and Michael Saunders, voted for an increase.
“It looks like the 2018 rate hike has been delayed not cancelled,” Fitch Ratings chief economist Brian Coulton said.
However, former MPC member Andrew Sentance said the Bank had “totally misunderstood” the economic slowdown. He said persistent low interest rates and uncertainty over their future direction were undermining the pound and hurting consumers by causing inflation.