12.6 C
Thursday, May 23, 2024
HomeBusinessBank of England Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged After 14 Consecutive Hikes

Bank of England Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged After 14 Consecutive Hikes

  • UK interest rates unchanged at 5.25%
  • Surprise decision amid slowing inflation
  • Uncertainty lingers for homeowners

In a surprising turn of events, the Bank of England has decided to keep UK interest rates at their current level, citing a faster-than-expected deceleration in price increases.

The interest rates have been maintained at 5.25%, which already marks their highest point in the last 15 years. This decision comes on the heels of a recent report indicating an unexpected slowdown in inflation during August.

Bank governor Andrew Bailey commented on this decision, stating, “Inflation has experienced a substantial decline in recent months, and we anticipate this trend will persist.” The Bank also acknowledged “growing indications” that the continuous rate hikes were beginning to negatively impact the UK economy.

The Bank of England has implemented 14 consecutive rate increases in its ongoing efforts to rein in inflation, which has remained persistently higher than the norm. While these rate hikes have led to increased mortgage payments for numerous homeowners and borrowers, they have also resulted in higher savings rates.

Bank of england leaves interest rates unchanged after 14 consecutive hikes
Bank of england leaves interest rates unchanged after 14 consecutive hikes
Many analysts had anticipated another rate increase, but the Bank’s decision to maintain the status quo raises questions about whether this marks a turning point in the monetary policy.

During discussions with broadcasters, Mr. Bailey cautioned against “complacency” and “premature celebration,” emphasizing that there is still a long road ahead to bring inflation down to the Bank’s 2% target. He also played down the possibility of rate cuts in the near future, stating, “I can confirm that we have not entertained any discussions about reducing rates, as such a move would be exceedingly premature. Our primary objective is to combat inflation.”

One homeowner, Nicola Valentine, expressed relief upon hearing that rates would remain unchanged. However, as her 2.9% fixed-rate mortgage is set to expire in November, she remains deeply concerned about the impending £300 per month increase in her mortgage payments. Despite making cost-cutting measures like canceling subscriptions and reducing discretionary spending, she remains uncertain about how to cope with the added financial strain. “I’m hoping that rates have peaked and will start to decline because this situation is becoming unsustainable for me. I feel completely helpless,” she remarked.

The Bank’s decision was closely contested, with four out of the nine members of the rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voting in favor of a rate hike, while the remaining five opted for a pause. Mr. Bailey exercised his casting vote to put a halt to the continuous series of rate hikes.

Ultimately, Wednesday’s inflation figures, which indicated a reduction in all major cost-of-living metrics, provided enough evidence for the Bank to conclude that its monetary strategy was yielding results.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt welcomed this development, saying, “We are beginning to witness a shift against high inflation, but we will continue our efforts to assist households grappling with mortgage payments. Now is the time to persevere. We are on track to halve inflation this year, and adhering to our plan is the only way to lower interest and mortgage rates.”

However, both the Bank and the Treasury remain cautious about premature celebrations, taking heed of warnings from the International Monetary Fund regarding the 1970s energy price surge, which led to persistent inflation.

The decision to keep rates unchanged will bring relief to homeowners with tracker mortgages, who have experienced a consistent increase in their monthly repayments. For those nearing the end of fixed-rate deals, there is hope that mortgage rate hikes have come to a halt.

While some competition has returned to the mortgage market, if this indeed marks the end of a series of rate hikes, lenders may have more confidence in offering improved deals. Nevertheless, experts in the sector warn that this decision might result in a plateau rather than a significant drop in mortgage rates.

Savers, on the other hand, may not see significant improvements in the returns they can earn, despite the rates being the highest in approximately 15 years. This emphasizes the importance of shopping around for the best available savings options.

The central theory behind raising interest rates is to make borrowing more expensive, which, in turn, encourages households to reduce spending. It may also discourage firms from raising prices rapidly. However, this is a delicate balance, as overly aggressive rate hikes could lead to reduced household spending, negatively affecting businesses and economic growth.

The Monetary Policy Committee noted that inflation had dropped much faster than expected since June, reaching 6.7% in August. Nonetheless, it also pointed out a slight increase in unemployment and weaker-than-expected overall economic growth. For these reasons, the committee decided to maintain the current interest rates. However, it emphasized that rates would need to remain “sufficiently restrictive for sufficiently long” to bring inflation back down to the Bank’s 2% target, a goal expected to be achieved by 2025. Further rate increases may be necessary if price inflation accelerates once again.

Read More


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most Popular

Water business may pay £3.5m as compensation

The proprietor of South West Water (SWW) has declared that it will provide approximately £3.5 million in compensation to customers who a parasite outbreak in Devon has impacted. The Pennon group also disclosed its financial results on Tuesday, which encompassed dividends that would be paid to shareholders. Devon MP Anthony Mangnall dubbed the announcement "tin-eared" and urged the group to either suspend its dividend offering or resign from its leadership.

Trump hush money trial: Cohen admits to stealing

Cohen's fourth and concluding day on the witness stand it occurred on Monday. His statements were the final witness testimony that the prosecution presented prior to concluding its case. The trial has now shifted to the defense, which is attempting to refute allegations that Trump falsified business records to conceal a hush-money payment to a former pornographic film actress, thereby bolstering his chances in the 2016 presidential election.

Scarlett Johansson ‘shocked and angered’ by AI voice recreation

Despite the CEO's apparent suggestion in a social media post that the tech company had intentionally copied the actress's intonation, the company has denied doing so. According to Scarlett Johansson, she was "shocked" and "angry" when OpenAI purportedly replicated her voice without her permission for a new ChatGPT system. The actress personally criticized Sam Altman, the company's CEO, in a statement for suggesting that she was the voice of 'Sky' by publishing the word 'her' on X. This reference was to a film in which she portrayed an AI that a human fell in love with.

Truss blames Bank; markets deemed mini-Budget disastrous

In October 2022, the then-Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng arrived at the temporary residence of Britain's Ambassador to Washington, Dame Karen Pierce, on a wet and windy night in Washington, D.C. He appeared to be a man without a care in the world.  As the English sparkling wine poured, his extrovert hostess, who was colorfully attired, appeared equally at ease.

Recent Comments