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One-year fixed rate savings bonds fall to record low

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The average rate on a one-year fixed bond has fallen to a record low of 0.61%, half the rate seen a year ago.

Average rates have fallen from around 0.85% just six months ago and ends the short-lived competition in the market seen over two consecutive months before dipping in October.

However, according to the data from Moneyfacts, the average shelf life of a fixed rate bond rose to 39 days from 28 last month which was the lowest number of days since March 2009.

Overall, product choice fell slightly month-on-month with 1,517 deals, including ISAs, which is the first fall seen since July.

Moneyfacts added that there are 389 fewer deals available than a year ago.

Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts, said with the unpredictable nature of the savings markets, savers need to act quickly to take advantage of the top rates.

She said challenger banks continue to have a “prominent presence” in the one-year fixed rate bonds market and the cuts are “perhaps more linked to their attempts to cope with demand and realigning their position than deterring prospective investors completely”.

Springall said: “Product numbers fell for the first time since July, however the market appears to be much more stable than seen earlier this year. Deals that have been withdrawn include some market-leading rates, so savers may see some of these deals return to the market, but perhaps with a lower rate to realign with its peers. The shelf life of fixed bonds has risen this month to 39 days, a sign that repricing has slowed slightly and has edged away from the record low of 28 days seen last month.

“One area of the market to see little change last month was the easy access arena, but we could see some deals adjusted in light of the rate cuts soon to come from National Savings & Investments (NS&I) this month. However, there is no certainty that an attractive rate will remain on the table for long and we have already seen this over the past couple of months since NS&I announced cuts were to come. Consumers continued to put cash into easy access accounts rather than fixed, with the latest Bank of England statistics showing that the inflow into interest-bearing sight deposits hit £6.5bn during September, a substantial rise from £2.4bn in August.”

She added that savers will need to consider other ways to access the top deals, such as the market-leading one-year fixed ISA from Virgin Money at 1% which is only available to those who have or open a current account.

Springall said: “Market volatility may now force the hand of savers to review rates on a more frequent basis, rather than a month-by-month check, as rates are changing much more frequently. This may also pose a challenge for savings providers who are attempting to retain a competitive offering, but perhaps are inundated by demand for the top rates and must then change their deal fast. Therefore, keeping on top of the trends in the market will be essential at such a crucial time for providers and savers alike.”

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