UK rate stays at 5.25% to relief of mortgage borrowers
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) at the Bank of England voted to keep Bank Rate (the national rate of interest) at 5.25% yesterday, a decision that came as a relief to hard-pressed mortgage borrowers who have made a saving and investment in property.
However, many in the City reckon that there are more rate rises in the pipeline as the Chancellor’s battle against inflation is far from over in many eyes. “My assessment is that the MPC is playing a ‘wait and see’ game,” said City observer Steve Seymour.
“Mortgage borrowers will obviously be pleased, as their UK investment in property is costing them more than it was a year ago as we have had three rises since then in August, November and January.”
The inflation figures this month are due later than usual on 20th March, so the MPC members are unlikely to have had a preview of them to make their decision this month.
There is also the matter of Gordon Brown’s budget on 21st March, which may well contain proposals that the MPC will factor into their decision in April.
“MY feeling is that April or May will bring the next rise,” said Seymour. “Given the turmoil on the stock markets recently an early hike in rates could have bad effects on confidence.”