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Analysts predict interest rate freeze

13 January 2005
Analysts have almost unanimously predicted that the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee will hold interest rates at 4.75 per cent this afternoon.

If this does happen, it will be the fifth consecutive month that interest rates have remained on ice.

While 70 per cent of consumers recently said they believed rates will rise, analysts have said the next major movement will be downwards.

After last month's unanimous decision to leave rates alone, economic data has hinted at future falls in interest rates.

High-street sales have been their lowest over Christmas since 1995 and it was revealed that November saw the fewest mortgages approved in a month for almost ten years.

Unions have said interest rate cuts would help Britain's manufacturing sector and estate agents have also added their voices to the calls for lower rates.

"We believe it is time to bring the base rate back down," said Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents.

Halifax has said it believes interest rates will fall twice in 2005, to stand at 4.25 per cent.

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