Interest rates likely to remain steady

10 March 2005
Financial experts have asserted that it is likely that the Bank of England will leave interest rates steady at 4.75 per cent for a seventh consecutive month.

All fifty analysts polled by Reuters last week were in agreement about this, expecting the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to hold borrowing costs at this month's meeting, which concludes at midday today.

Some uncertainty about economic data regarding borrowing and the housing market were cited by the economists as factors in the MPC's probable decision.

"The rate hike faction within the MPC may well gain one or two new recruits in March but the majority of the committee will want to see evidence of firmer consumer demand before voting for higher rates," said RBS Financial Markets economist Ross Walker.

The predictions come despite the vote last month by one of the nine MPC members, Paul Tucker, to hike rates by a quarter point and indications from other members - including deputy governor Rachel Lomax - that an increase could be on the cards.

A decision to hold interest rates would be good news for loan borrowers.

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