Home Business Homeowners fear the worst with interest rates on a knife-edge

Homeowners fear the worst with interest rates on a knife-edge

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Homeowners fear the worst with interest rates on a knife-edge

In a similar vein, this time it could choose to ignore the higher inflation caused by a change to the energy price guarantee – though this is muddied by the risk that an extra peak in inflation next year may embed price rises through more of the economy.

Bailey and other MPC members have also expressed their own worries that persistent inflation will lead to more demand for higher wages, in turn stoking more inflation.

So how far should the MPC raise interest rates? Financial markets expect the Bank to make its biggest upward move since Black Wednesday in 1992 with an increase from 2.25pc to 3pc.

Economists are split over whether this is enough.

Weale urges caution. “I would be advocating moving slightly cautiously in November, and making clear that if necessary further adjustments could be made in December,” he says, allowing the Bank to take the Autumn Statement into account at that stage.

“I would not be totally amazed if the MPC settled again for 0.5 percentage points,” rather than the 0.75 expected by markets.

Allan Monks, economist at JP Morgan, similarly thinks there is a change of a half-point move, particularly as Ben Broadbent, a deputy governor at the Bank, recently called the rise in market expectations “very dramatic”.

A smaller rate rise could be justified, Monks says, as an end to the energy price guarantee in April means “a real income drag for next year compared to the Truss energy plan”, harming the economy’s growth prospects.

Samuel Tombs at Pantheon Macroeconomics suggests an alternative path, raising rates by 0.75 percentage points then talking down future rate increases “to imply that the MPC will not eventually raise Bank Rate all the way to the 5pc level” predicted by traders last week – though over the past month this forecast peak has ranged from 6.25pc down to 4.75pc, in a mark of market volatility.

Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK, by contrast, says the Bank knows that it needs to go further in the months ahead so might as well show it is serious about tackling price rises.

“I think they are going to try to focus more on inflation, especially because they had to postpone quantitative tightening,” she says, referring to the sale of bonds bought under quantitative easing which the Bank is belatedly starting on November 1, having delayed the scheme due to the panic in pensions a month ago.

“Therefore we could easily see a one percentage point increase in rates.”

This might sound bad for homeowners, but she thinks the Bank can go hard now then stop raising rates sooner, suggesting a peak of 4.5pc in February.

This would spare mortgage borrowers from the 4.75pc markets anticipated by the end of last week.

Whichever figure the MPC picks, it will not be the end of this dizzying run of sharp rate rises.

Balancing these competing arguments is Bailey’s troublesome task. Satisfying everyone will be impossible.

Homeowners will have to hope he simply chooses not to shock anyone, electing to be as dull, solid and dependable as possible as the best option at the end of a month of chaos.

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