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Expert predicts no base rate cut until 2025 as another rise looms in two weeks

Written by: Matthew Browning
Bank of America has predicted there will be no cuts to the base rate until 2025. Meanwhile, economists predict a 15th consecutive rise to 5.5% in two weeks' time.

Bank of America chief economist Robert Wood has projected a hike of 0.25% in the Bank of England’s (BoE) next announcement on 21 September.

This will see the base rate increase from 5.25%, its highest point since 2008, to 5.5% which means borrowers could face even higher mortgage repayments as they contend with rising bills and the cost-of-living crisis.

Wood attributes this to the UK’s “entrenched inflation problem”, so while the interest rate is unlikely to rise further, it will continue at the same level through the majority of 2024.

According to Investment Week, the economist said: “Further labour market easing will likely require weak demand rather than coming benignly from improving supply.

“We forecast the unemployment rate over the next year to rise at half the pace of the past year. How much spare capacity is needed and how much the BoE needs to hike to deliver that is extremely uncertain.

“Interest rates are, in our view, in restrictive territory now. The weak housing market testifies to that. It is not so much a question of the BoE catching up with policy anymore, but rather how restrictive rates need to be.

“That will depend on the mixture of shocks. The BoE suggest data surprises have been the result of structural changes that do not necessarily all suggest upside risks to inflation. The BoE will likely be cautious about hiking further.”

Fifteenth consecutive base rate rise predicted

This prediction adds further to the widespread belief that a fifteenth consecutive rise in base rate from the BoE is imminent, even though July saw a fall in the annual consumer prices index (CPI) inflation from 7.9% to 6.8%.

Reuters reports that a majority of economists believe that the base rate rise will not stop at 5.5% and says financial markets “expect the base rate to peak at 5.75% this year”.

Ahead of the Bank of England’s September announcement, research firm Capital Economics concurred with the Bank of America assessment that rates would not rise substantially, but would remain high for the foreseeable future.

Capital Economics UK economist Ashley Webb, said: “This week the Bank of England’s chief economist, Huw Pill, said that he didn’t think interest rates will rise much further from 5.25% now but that rates are likely to stay high for a long time.

“We’re expecting only one more 25 basis point rate hike, from 5.25% to 5.5%, in September before rates are put on hold until late in 2024. But the mild recession we forecast may mean rates are cut faster than investors (and Pill) expect in late 2024 and in 2025.”

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