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Bank of England joins the hawks

03 August 2018

Mr Carney's intervention comes a day after the Bank of England raised interest rates to 0.75 per cent - the highest level in nearly 10 years.

The latest policy decision could translate into higher equated monthly instalments (EMIs) for home, auto and other loans, if the banks pass on the burden to borrowers.

Most economists believe a rate rise this month would be the only one in 2018, with the next one not due until at least February 2019.

"The main argument for raising rates now is that it gives the Bank more room for manoeuvre when the next downturn hits".

RBI rate hike worries real estate sector

While savers may be hoping for better returns, Bank of England statistics show that the average interest rate on United Kingdom current accounts increased by only 0.09% in the seven months since rates were increased by 0.25% past year. That was a fraction lower than a projection of rates of 1.2 percent the last time the BoE published forecasts for the economy in May.

Laith Khalaf, a senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, says: "Today's decision by the Bank of England to raise interest rates above 0.5% for the first time since the financial crisis is a symbolic one".

But it will still leave savers who have suffered a decade of miserly interest payments with a poor return on cash left in the bank.

The Government has urged Brussels to engage with Theresa May's Brexit blueprint agreed last month at Chequers or risk the talks running out of time.

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Iain Lindsay, co-head of global portfolio management within the global fixed income team at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said "today's rate hike is a significant, albeit not an unexpected move". The RBI aims to keep consumer price index (CPI) inflation of 4 percent within a band of +/- 2 percent while supporting growth.

The RBI's "neutral stance" is also under the spotlight.

The British Pound remains on course to return toward its post-referendum lows against the Euro and Dollar despite a "hawkish " Bank of England that delivered its second interest rate rise in the past year Thursday, according to strategists at ING Group.

The majority of mortgage-holders, who have fixed rates, will not see a difference.

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If financial market expectations are met, Britain's central bank should raise rates from 0.5% to 0.75%, taking the UK's base rate of interest to its highest level since March 2009. "Steel consumption also accelerated in May", the central bank said in a media release. The RBI has forecasted a mildly rising inflation trajectory - 4.8% in H2FY18 and 5% in Q1FY20.

How many more rate rises can we expect?

According to the Nationwide Building Society, anyone on a standard variable rate will see an increase of £12 on a mortgage of £100,000 and on a £200,000 mortgage, £25. "This policy's current rate hike was already factored into our evaluation of deposit rates and there would no such immediate reaction to it", said Rajeev Ahuja, executive director, RBL Bank.

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Bank of England joins the hawks