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Interest rates kept on hold as Bank gears up for rising inflation

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Interest rates have been held at their historic low of 0.25%, the Bank of England confirms.

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted unanimously to maintain the Bank of England Base Rate at the record low of 0.25%, following its momentous decision in August to cut the rate from 0.5%.

It also confirmed it will continue with the programme to purchase £60bn of additional government bonds, extending its asset purchases to £435bn as well as its scheme of buying up corporate bonds totalling £10bn.

Minutes from the meeting held last night stated that business sentiment had recovered from their lows immediately following the EU referendum vote and preliminary GDP growth estimates in Q3 were above expectations.

However it noted that in the period since the beginning of October, sterling’s value has depreciated further but longer-term gilt yields have risen notably, as has the expectation of medium-term inflation.

The CPI measure of inflation is expected to be higher throughout the three-year forecast period than previously anticipated by the Bank. It now expects inflation to rise from its current level of 1% to around 2.75% in 2018, “before falling back gradually over 2019 to reach 2.5% in three years’ time”, with the Bank predicting inflation to return to its normal level of 2% in the following year.

Tom Stevenson, investment director for personal investing at Fidelity International, said rising short term inflation means a rate cut is probably off the table for now. “At the same time, flagging growth in 2018 means we shouldn’t expect a rate hike either for the foreseeable future.”

Ishaan Malhi, founder and CEO of online mortgage broker Trussle, said those hoping to secure a low mortgage rate shouldn’t worry just yet: “It seems unlikely the Bank of England will vote for an interest rate rise for some time. But these record low rates won’t hang around forever, so locking in an attractive rate now could prove a smart decision for the future.”

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