Interest rates should be held again in August, says rate-setter


Interest rates should be held again when the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) next meet in August rather than be cut for the first time in more than four years, a key rate-setter has said.

Jonathan Haskel, a member of the Bank’s MPC said he “would rather hold rates” at 5.25% until there is more certainty that inflation pressures had “subsided sustainably”.

Interest rates have been kept at a 16-year high in an attempt to slow consumer prices rising, but higher rates have pushed up the cost of borrowing, including for mortgages.

The Bank previously appeared to hint that rates could be cut in August after official figures showed inflation – which measures the pace of price rises – had slowed to 2%, which is in line with its target.

That, in turn, has led to some lenders dropping their mortgage rates, albeit marginally.

Financial markets have currently priced in a roughly 60% chance that rates will be cut next month for the first time since 2020.

But Mr Haskel, who voted in favour of holding rates in June, said he believed his fellow policymakers should remain cautious, citing concerns over the UK’s job market and worker shortages.

He said: “The labour market continues to be tight, and I worry it is still impaired,” he wrote in a speech due to be delivered later on Monday.

“I would rather hold rates until there is more certainty that underlying inflationary pressures have subsided sustainably.”

Haskel is an external member of the Bank’s MPC and also a professor of economics at Imperial College Business School.

“The playing out of those shocks through the economy, and the continued tight and impaired labour market, means that inflation will remain above target for quite some time,” Haskel wrote in his speech.

His term on the MPC is due to end on 31 August.

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