Economists Unanimously Predict Interest Rate to Hold for the Rest of 2018
Panel of economists unanimously predict interest rate to hold for the rest of 2018, as finder.com calls for banks to pass on August’s 0.25 percent interest rise to savers.
- Finder.com has panelled prominent economists who’ve shared their forecasts ahead of the Bank of England’s Base rate announcement on September 13, 2018
- All eight economists predict the rate to hold at 0.75% on Thursday, and for the remainder of the year
- All economists think Brexit will negatively affect the UK economy in the medium term, although some think a soft Brexit could create a positive outlook
- Four of the eight economists (50%) have a positive outlook towards the cost of living over the next six months
- The survey also found that 37.5% (three of the eight economists) hold a negative outlook for the next six months when it comes to employment
Personal finance comparison site finder.com has panelled some of the country’s brightest economists on what the Bank of England will decide at the next Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on September 13, 2018.
Finder’s Bank of England Bank Rate Survey has found that all eight economists unanimously predict the bank rate will hold at 0.75% at the next meeting. The survey also found that 100% of economists predict the rate to hold for the remainder of 2018.
Two of the main reasons for the panellists’ forecasts is political uncertainty and Brexit negotiations.
Sanjay Raja, UK economist at Deutsche Bank, said, “We expect the BoE to hold in September, and indeed for the remainder of the year, given heightened Brexit uncertainty. Furthermore, given the recent narrative by MPC members we see limited ability for the Bank to push through another rate hike over the remainder of the year.”
Impact of Brexit Negotiations
When asked for their thoughts on Brexit negotiations, all economists predict the negotiations will have a negative effect on the UK economy in the medium term. However, some of the economists foresee a neutral to positive outlook, should the government achieve a soft Brexit.
Alan Bridle, UK economist at Bank of Ireland, said Brexit will be “Disruptive and Negative in the short-term but neutral and potentially positive in the medium to longer term if the government adopts the correct policy “mix” on skills, infrastructure, exporting and a modern industrial strategy to drive a significant uplift in the UK’s productivity performance.”
Six Month Economic Outlook
The economists were asked to share their outlook on five economic indicators over the next six months: wage growth, employment, cost of living, household debt and housing affordability.
Out of these indicators, the cost of living saw the most positive outlook, with four of the eight economists (50%) expecting a positive outlook for the next six months. It was followed by wage growth and housing affordability (both at 37.5% respectively).
The most negative outlook was around employment, as three of the eight (37.5%) economists are pessimistic about this over the next six months. The prospects for household debt are also negative according to two (25%) economists, with none of the remaining experts predicting a positive outlook for this in the short term.
Monetary Policy Committee: Dovish or Hawkish?
When asked whether the MPC should generally be dovish or hawkish over the next 12-24 months, the majority of our panellists predict the committee will take a cautious policy stance over the next year. However, some panellists predict a smooth Brexit transition could mean a more hawkish stance in future.
Chris Williamson, Chief Economist at IHS Markit, said, “A dovish policy stance (one hike per year) looks likely for the next year as Brexit uncertainty is dampening growth at the same time that global economic conditions are showing signs of cooling. However, a smooth Brexit transition process could mean the MPC turns more hawkish.”
Commenting on the survey, Jon Ostler, UK CEO at finder.com said: “As the MPC prepare to meet again on Thursday, consumers are still yet to truly experience the benefits of the interest rate rise they introduced in August. It is very unfair that most of the high street banks, and over half of mortgage lenders, have dumped the interest rises on their mortgage customers, while hardly any have passed on the higher rates to customers with savings accounts. Banks can’t have any complaints if customers switch to better savings accounts if this situation doesn’t change soon.
“For this upcoming decision, the Committee has indicated they’re in no rush to raise the interest rates again, so our panellists’ predictions come as no surprise. Many of them think that Brexit may be the biggest determiner of when the next movement will be, although they all agree that this isn’t likely to come in 2018. While a ‘soft Brexit’ is far from guaranteed to happen, it is encouraging that some of our panelists believe this wouldn’t harm Britain’s long term economic outlook, and could actually boost it.”
The full report, complete with data tables and embeddable infographics is available here.
The forecasts and comments by the eight economists in the Finder UK Bank of England Bank Rate Survey:
Name and Title
Forecast for August 2
Alan Bridle, UK Economist
Bank of Ireland
“After the +25bps in August, monetary policy is now likely to be on hold for the rest of 2018, pending Brexit-related developments and the impact on both the economy and financial markets.”
Andrew Wishart, UK Economist
“Given the moderate pace of growth and still-subdued wage pressures, there is no need for the bank tighten policy further now having raised interest rates in August.”
Sanjay Raja, UK Economist
“We expect the BoE to hold in September, and indeed for the remainder of the year, given heightened Brexit uncertainty. Furthermore, given the recent narrative by MPC members we see limited ability for the bank to push through another rate hike over the remainder of the year.”
Chris Williamson, Chief Economist
“having hiked in August, the MPC will now likely sit on its hands and wait for more data to better understand the underlying growth momentum of the economy and wage growth, recent data for which have been somewhat mixed. However, the MPC will also be wary of further tightening while Brexit uncertainty remains elevated. No change is therefore likely for some time, though we will need to watch the data flow each month.”
James Knightley, Chief International Economist
“A weak economy and political uncertainty suggest little prospect of action from the BoE, especially given they hiked rates only last month.”
Jerry Thompson-Cook, Chief Economist and Head of Currency Strategy
“The Bank of England has always told us that any increases in the base rate will be ‘limited and gradual’; growth needs to be seen to be consistent and wider base effects should start to fall out of the inflation basket, limiting the need for immediate financial tightening.”
Ruth Gregory, Senior UK Economist
No written forecast
Arjun Dasgupta, Economist
No written forecast
Notes to Editors:
Jon Ostler, CEO (UK) at finder.com is available for comment, opinion or interview regarding the predictions.
For further press information, please contact:
Yasmine Triana | Aaryn Vaughan
T: +44 (0)20 3440 8930
E: [email protected]
finder, Australia’s #1 comparison site, launched in the UK in February 2017.
Founded in 2006, finder has over three million MUUs and has helped consumers make 15 million decisions over the past decade.
finder is entirely independent, offering consumers unbiased content, comparisons and, wherever possible, a full market view.
So much more than just a comparison site, finder provides in depth guides, advice and editorial content to help consumers better understand all the options and products available.
Committed to educating and empowering consumers to make informed choices and ultimately, to make savings, finder’s success is based on the provision of up to date and relevant information supplied by dedicated, round the clock research teams.
Categories currently available in the UK include money transfers, travel money, gas & electricity, mobile, broadband, and TV streaming. New products (including insurance, credit cards, loans, mortgages and pensions) will be rolled out over the coming months.
finder now operates in 10 countries including: the UK, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Chile, Spain and Mexico, and employs over 120 staff worldwide.