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BoE abandons mortgage borrowers – now we may get just ONE interest rate cut in 2024 | Personal Finance | Finance

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Everybody expected the BoE’s rate-setting monetary policy committee (MPC) to sit on its hands once again today. Yet the decision to freeze rates is still a massive blow for mortgage borrowers, who were hoping for some respite. Fat chance.

Many will be wondering when the first interest rate cut will land, and the outlook is bleak.

Interest rates are going to stay much higher for much longer than anybody anticipated at the start of the year. Not just here but in the US, too.

Markets genuinely believed we would get six interest rate cuts in 2024.

So far, we’ve had none.

There’s a chance the Bank of England may cut rates as its next meeting in August, but hopes are shrinking by the day. Most analysts reckon it will wait until September.

And even if it does cut then, that might be it for 2024. Just one measly rate cut. Or two, if we’re lucky, with the second landing in December.

It’s devastating news for millions of homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgage today.

For years we’ve been told the BoE has a remit to keep consumer price inflation at two percent. Now it’s hit that target, and still won’t cut rates.

One reason is the general election. The MPC fears cutting rates two weeks before polling day would have handed a boost to the Tories. So it’s done a massive favour for Labour instead.

Poor Rishi Sunak, he just cannot catch a break.

Another reason the MPC didn’t cut is that services inflation is still high at 5.7 percent, suggesting inflation hasn’t been licked yet.

Core inflation was also high at 3.5 percent, while wages are growing at six percent a year.

Until they all come down, we can whistle for that rate cut.

This means the cost-of-living crisis will drag on and on.

Even though price growth has slowed, everyday essentials still cost 20 percent more than just a couple of years ago.

Which goes a long way towards explaining why the Conservative Party appears to be facing an annihilation at the polls.

At least higher interest rates spell good news for savers, who can still get five percent on easy access.

But it won’t do much for our pensions and stocks and shares Isas.

Stock markets have been waiting for that first rate to cut as a trigger for a major rally.

They may not get much joy until 2025.

Anybody assuming that we will one day return to the era of near-zero interest rates needs to think again, too.

Even when base rates are cut, I doubt they will fall much below four percent.

In one respect, that’s a good thing. Near-zero interest rates helped fired property prices towards today’s unsustainable highs.

They also punish savers, who got next to nothing on their deposits.

Cutting rates today would have given the country a lift, with little risk involved. The European Central Bank cut interest rates to 3.75 percent last week, without incident.

So how come we need to keep ours at 5.25 percent? Inflation is no worse over here. The Bank of England’s excessive caution is to blame.

It’s clearly not going to listen to its army of critics. Today confirmed that.

Homeowners should brace themselves for yet more disappointing news on this front. I just hope they can muddle through until the BoE comes to its senses. Sadly, that might take a long time.

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