Will Interest Rates Rise Twice this Year?

A rate rise is "likely" this year, although any increases will be gradual according to Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England.

However, there may be a high level of impetus given to "hawkish" elements at the Bank of England according to the EY Item Club, due to improvements in the labour market and in the earnings growth of British companies.

According to their predictions, the UK economy will grow by 1.6% this year, rising to 1.7% in 2019, allowing the Bank of England to increase rates in concert.

The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee is widely expected to raise rates to 0.75% in it's May meeting, an increase from the current rate of 0.5%.

Will these expected increases however, put undue pressure on homeowners and those who need to service debts? Howard Archer of the EY Item Club raises the possibility that this could endanger those that need to service loans, with the caveat that the higher uptake of fixed mortgages means that less people would be affected by the projected rises:

"In addition, the burden of interest payments to the average household was at a record low at the end of 2017, and so consumers are in a relatively healthy position to cope with dearer money," he said.

The UK economy is still moving along nicely according to Mr Archer, and research released by Deloitte indicated that UK consumer confidence is improving, without however, raising spending by consumers.

Retail and casual dining businesses are expected to face heavy headwinds in the short term according to Deloitte's research.

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