Lowest House interest RatesExtremely low house rates
One of the Bank of England's key political decision-makers has predicted that the low interest rate period will continue for at least another 20 years, despite slightly higher government credit prices in the years to come. Ian McCafferty said in a farewell talk before he left Threadneedle Street's MPC at the end of the month by saying that changes in the structure of the worldwide economic system led British borrower and saver alike to get accustomed to interest rates "well below the 5% mean in the 10 years before the credit crisis".
Mr McCafferty said that some of the things that have led to a decline in world interest rates since the 1980s - embracing low levels of production and the building of economies by the infant boomers - would ultimately go in the opposite direction. Long run developments in overall interest rates affect the cost of debt considered necessary by the MPCs to keep head of rate increases in order to contain rate increases and explains why public debt cost has been lower since the beginning of 2009 than it has been since the bank's inception in 1694.
He said that while consumer and corporate spending should now be prepared for further rises in their credit cost following last week's rise, they would be finite and incremental. "The interest rates in the first 10 years (1997-2007) of the MPC will be well below the 5% average," he said.
McCafferty, whose six-year tenure as one of the four external MPC members ends this month, also said: labor bottlenecks would accelerate pay rises to nearly 4% next year; the Bank of England had not vacated it too late to begin streamlining policies, but would have to announce two quarter-hour interest hikes within the next 18 to two years; Brexit's insecurity had hit companies far harder than its consumer base, leading to lower levels of capital spending than usual.
Mr McCafferty said that despite Brexit's "potentially large risks", the bank would need to react to proof that the lowest level of joblessness in more than 40 years is causing a rampant shortage of skilled workers. McCafferty said the city was currently penncilling into two interest rates hikes over the next two years, but that the hikes would probably be "front-loaded".
Adding that the uncommon uncertainties - especially with regard to Brexit - made it difficult to finalise the date of further interest hikes, he predicted "another pair in the next 18 month or two". McCafferty was one of the first MPC members to voted for the bank in March to increase interest rates from the 0.5% contingency stage achieved during the depth of the turmoil.
In spite of the continuous decline in joblessness, as the economies have been recovering from their deepest downturn since the Second Word War, wages have remained low and incomes are currently increasing at an average 2.5% per annum. Accelerating profit to 3.25% in 2019 is forecast by the bank, but McCafferty said that if labor demands continue to rise at their present rates, there is a risk that pay rises will be higher.
A number of city comments have been speculating that one of the reasons for the bank's move to increase interest rates to 0 is that the MPCs wish to have more fire power if the UK exits the EU next source next year. Yet depositors have hardly profited from last week's 0.25% interest rate-raising.
Whilst creditors in the main streets, such as Lloyds, Halifax and Nationwide, increased mortgages by a full-quarter point, many depositors have seen an increase of only 0.1%. The HSBC and Barclays have increased mortgages rates without announcement of any increase for depositors, with only one of the more than 100 bank and home loan and bonding companies - the small Beverley Home Loan and Loan Company - pledged to give depositors the full 0.25% increase.
RBS expects that higher interest rates will increase their incomes by £300 million by 2020.