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Blow for savers as economic uncertainty drives interest rates down

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Savers hoping for an uplift of rates in 2019 have been left disappointed as they’ve been slashed across the fixed rate and easy access market.

The year got off to a promising start with competition from challenger banks and off the Bank of England’s decision to raise the base rate at the end of 2018.

However, economic uncertainty has had a profound effect on interest rates, with fixed rates plummeting 0.38% on average.

According to data site Moneyfacts, providers don’t want to offer lucrative rates over a set time period especially where the base rate (interest rate) could be cut.

Rachel Springall, finance expert at the site, said: “At the moment, fixing for even a year may prove too much of a commitment for some, with the difference between the average two-year fixed and five-year fixed bond standing at 0.42%. Indeed, savers may instead turn to easy access accounts for more flexibility, but even these deals have not been immune from cuts.”

The average easy access rate stands at 0.61% down from 0.64% a year ago. This is despite no cut to the base rate in 2019, which usually impacts variable rates.

Springall said the cuts could be due to providers struggling to cope with demand, meaning a race to the bottom of the top rate tables rather than a race to the top.

“All in all, this domino effect will be a heavy blow to savers already struggling to find a decent return on their hard-earned cash. As we look forward to 2020, interest rates could fall further still, and as this year has shown, attractive offerings don’t tend to sit on the shelf for long. Savers must be vigilant and keep an eye on the top rate tables and be prepared to switch to ensure they are getting the best possible return,” she added.


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