Base rate held at 0.75% amid business and Brexit uncertainty
Members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted unanimously to hold the base rate at 0.75% for November, after last raising it from 0.5% in August.
The committee noted that GDP is expected to grow by around 1.75% per year on average and household consumption is expected to grow modestly relative to historical rates, broadly in line with real incomes.
However, the MPC said that business investment was more subdued than previously anticipated as the effect of Brexit uncertainty has intensified.
Notes from the meeting held last night, stated: “The economic outlook will depend significantly on the nature of EU withdrawal, in particular the form of new trading arrangements, the smoothness of the transition to them and the responses of households, businesses and financial markets.
“At this meeting the MPC judged that the current stance of monetary policy remained appropriate. Any future increases in Bank Rate are likely to be at a gradual pace and to a limited extent.”
It added that CPI inflation is projected to remain above the target for most of the forecast period (to 2021), before reaching 2% by the end of the third year.
Alistair Wilson, Zurich’s head of retail platform strategy, said with inflation falling lower than expected at the last count, and wages having risen at the fastest pace in nearly a decade, this has eased pressure to raise rates in the immediate future.
“But with interest rates remaining low, and the Budget failing to provide any support for struggling savers, consumers need to consider options where they could enjoy better returns. Putting small amounts into a stocks and shares ISA or pension fund are practical ways to build a healthy sum over the years and mitigate the impact of a rise in the cost of living,” he said.