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Bank of England base rate held at 0.1%

Written by: Shekina Tuahene
The Bank of England (BoE) has held the base rate at 0.10% but said an increase could be expected ‘over the coming months’.

Today’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) vote was split seven to two in favour of holding off on a change to the rate.

Governor Andrew Bailey, Ben Broadbent, Jon Cunliffe, Jonathan Haskel, Catherine Mann, Huw Pill and Silvana Tenreyro voted to maintain the rate while Dave Ramsden and Michael Saunders voted to increase the rate to 0.25%. The next meeting will be held on 16 December.

The market has been preparing for an increase in the base rate to curb rising inflation, which has exceeded the central bank’s 2% target since May.

In the minutes of the meeting, the committee said it decided the existing stance of monetary policy remained appropriate but said it would be “necessary over the coming months to increase bank rate to return CPI inflation sustainably to the 2% target”.

Inflation is currently 3.1% but it has been suggested this rise is only temporary. This fuelled theories that the base rate would not increase as sharply or as soon as some expected.

Despite this, mortgage lenders anticipated a change this week by upping the pricing on lower loan to value (LTV) mortgages to maximise margins. This has also been a response to a recent rise in swap rates.

Andrew Montlake, managing director of Coreco, said: “The money markets have already priced in a potential rate move as inflation starts to bite, but many believe that this is a temporary situation and inflation will start to ease off early next year.”

He also indicated a move in the base rate would likely come during the first quarter of 2022.

“In truth it is a delicate balancing act with the Bank of England keen to avoid anything that might derail a recovery on one side, or hold off too long to be behind the curve on the other leading to faster, sharper rises. Whilst these decisions remain on a knife-edge, one thing we do know is that we should all be preparing for rate rises sooner rather than later,” he added.

It has been widely predicted that the base rate will rise to 0.25% by next spring, a move away from the assumption that the record low rate of 0.1% would be maintained for some years.

Last month, Capital Economics revised its prediction to suggest the base rate would reach 0.25% by 2022, before rising to 0.5% by 2023. The market analyst originally stated rates would rise to 0.5% by 2024.

Nathan Emerson, chief executive at Propertymark, said: “It is only a matter of time before the base rate is increased, with many having expected that to come today. When it does, mortgage rates will inevitably increase, but it is important to keep things in perspective, as the cost of borrowing remains low when compared to historic levels.”

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