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Nine in 10 chance interest rates won’t be hiked this week

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
08/05/2018
The markets are pricing in just an 8% chance that interest rates will be hiked by the Bank of England at its May Monetary Policy Committee meeting this week.

This is a sheer drop from the 98% chance of a rate rise in May forecast just a month ago.

After the February MPC meeting, Bank governor, Mark Carney said a rate rise may come earlier and steeper than expected.

This was because there was rising growth, wages and inflation, and at the March meeting, there was nothing to dispel the rumour of a rate rise on the horizon.

As at 17 April, the markets were pricing in more than an 80% chance of a rate rise this month. But poor retail sales growth, slower inflation and disappointing growth figures mean Carney is no longer backed into a corner.

Therefore, markets are pricing in a 92% chance that rates will stay the same in May.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Of course, a rate rise remains a possibility, but this is yet another ample demonstration of the futility of trying to guess the date of the next interest rate rise, and how dangerous it is to base your savings strategy on unreliable predictions.

“Anyone who has left their savings sitting in an easy access account with a dismal rate – waiting to move their money after a rate rise – is highly likely to end up paying the price for their optimism.”

Coles added this is always a flawed plan, because even if you could accurately predict the timing of a rate rise, it’s impossible to guess who will pass the rise on, how much rates will be boosted by and when.

“It’s far better to choose the right length of time to fix your rate based on your own circumstances, and then do so at the best possible rate today.

“At the moment, you can get 1.31% on an easy access account, 1.85% over a year and 2.16% over two years, and while these aren’t the kind of rates to set the heart racing, they’re far better than leaving your money in an easy access account paying 0.1% while you play the waiting game,” she said.

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