Interest rates: So when will they rise? – 4879

10th June 2011

The chances of a rise have diminished greatly since April, according to reports.

Many economists, noting a fall in inflation in March, began to wonder whether the first rise would be delayed until 2012, says the report.

Interest rate futures, says This is Money point to March/April 2012 for the first increase from 0.50% to 0.75%.

But these market predictions are very volatile, adds the report, and economists and experts haven't got a great record of making the right calls in recent years.

Commenting on Mindful Money blogger Shaun Richard's post, Drf says: "One wonders why the masquerade of the regular MPC meetings continues.  We all know there will be no change.

"The Chancellor has already decided that so why do we have to have the monthly charade of the MPC meeting to decide to do nothing?  Why indeed do we continue to pay them a good deal out of public funds to do nothing? We could do with saving the money to help pay off public debt."

With inflation at double the Bank of England's target, and likely to stay there for some time, many think the Bank should increase rates sooner rather than later in order to combat rising prices, which are eroding consumers' spending power, says a BBC report.

But others say it is still too soon and the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) should hold off, for fear of jeopardising the UK's fragile economic recovery, particularly in light of the economy's 0.5% contraction in the final three months of last year.

The BBC asked 22 economists when they thought rates would rise. Fourteen out of the 22 said August, four predicted May, and one each said June, July, November and February.

When asked where rates would stand at the end of the year, twelve said 1%, six said 1.25%, one said 1.3%. Two predicted a smaller rise to 0.75% by the year end, while one, HSBC's Stuart Green, thought rates would still be at 0.5%.

The Guardian also asks a range of experts what they think in this report.

While bets on a May 2011 rise were widespread three months ago, but investors now see it as 50/50 as to whether the bank will move this year, says a report in the Daily Telegraph 

Meanwhile, also in the Daily Telegraph there is a story that the bank rate will rise quickly once Mervyn King makes first decision to increase rates, according to historic data from Lloyds TSB.

Lloyds has analysed past interest rate activity and has revealed that in the past the Bank of England has increased rates by small amounts but in quick succession.

Analysing data from the past 14 years, says the report, the figures reveal that Bank Rate has been cut by up to 1.5 percentage points, but that it only ever rises by 0.25 percentage points at a time.

However, historically the Bank makes several of these small increases in a short space of time.

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