Interest rates to stay on hold

18 August 2004
A September rate rise now looks less likely following the publication of the Bank of England's minutes.

The minutes revealed that all nine members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted for the quarter point rise earlier this month.

It also emerged that a half-point rise was not discussed. This will come as something of a surprise as some analysts had predicted a sharper increase in the base rate to rein in consumer spending and cool house price inflation.

The MPC's policy of gradual rate rises does appear to be having an effect as recent housing market surveys show that the record growth in house prices has now slowed.

Further rate rises are anticipated before the end of the year, with analysts predicting that the base rate will sit at between 5 and 5.5 per cent by the end of the year.

However, another increase next month now seems unlikely.

Figures from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) this week showed that second quarter house price growth was at its slowest for 12 months.
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