Bank of England Official Bank Rate Survey: March 2019

Bank of England Official Bank Rate

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Next BoE official bank rate announcement: 2 May, 2019 (GMT +1)


The Bank of England (BoE) sets the official bank rate eight times per year. If the bank rate changes, the rate of variable rate savings accounts, mortgages and loans will change too, with a very immediate impact on your finances.

Is the official bank rate expected to rise or fall? We asked a panel of some of the UK’s brightest minds in economics and property, in the finder Bank of England Official Bank Rate Survey.

100% of our economists predicted the rate would hold at 0.75% at the March 21 meeting.

Read their detailed forecasts, as well as their thoughts on how Brexit negotiations could affect key economic indicators.

  • FAQs

    BoE official bank rate explained

    The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meets 8 times per year to set the ‘bank rate’, otherwise known as the ‘Bank of England base rate’ or the ‘interest rate’. The BoE can decide to keep the rate the same, raise it, or decrease it. Banks don’t have to follow the move that the BoE makes, but many generally adjust their rates after the change to pass any changes to the customer. An increase to the bank rate makes saving more appealing and borrowing more expensive, where a decrease makes borrowing cheaper, but saving less rewarding.

  • BoE forecasts

    Finder’s Bank of England bank rate survey asked UK economists what move the BoE would make at the meeting on 21 March.

    Make an informed decision when deciding to fix interest rates for your mortgage, or lock your money into a term deposit by seeing what these experts predict will happen.


Key findings

  • 100% of the economists surveyed predicted the bank rate would hold at 0.75% at the March 21 meeting
  • 40% of the economists (four of five) have a positive outlook towards wage growth and cost of living over the next six months
  • Ian Bright, Managing Director, Group Research at ING predicts an interest rate fall in September 2019

Our panel of economists

+ Open all commentary

Find out what each of our experts predicted for the March 21 meeting and their detailed forecast explanations.

“The data from the UK has not shifted much since the QIR last month with the only moves of note taking place in Westminster. There’s nothing to be gained from jumping one way or the other before we know how Brexit is likely to impact us.”
No written forecast.
No written forecast.
“Not enough change in growth. Would be inappropriate to make a change given BREXIT discussions.”
No written forecast.

Brexit negotiations and the bank rate

We asked our panellists if they believe the difficulty that the Government has faced negotiating a Brexit deal (including the recent defeat of Theresa May’s proposed deal) has changed the UK’s short or medium-term economic outlook.

This is what they had to say:

  • Ian Bright“Yes – UK potential growth has already been lowered dues to (1) already decreased investment by the corporate sector reducing growth of capital stock (2) increased red tape for business, especially those wishing to export (3) loss of trust in UK stability and its adherence to international law.”
  • Jeremy Thompson-Cook“At the margin, it has affected confidence & investment and that is self-fulfilling circle of slowing output. Business doesn’t trust politicians at the best of times and these are far from the best of times.”

Our expert’s outlook on the top economic indicators:

We asked our panel for their outlook over the next six months for the following five economic indicators: wage growth, employment, cost of living, household debt and housing affordability.

Of these, wage growth and cost of living saw the most positive outlook, with 40% expecting a positive outlook for both indicators over the next six months.

Employment had the most negative outlook, with 40% of economists giving a negative forecast for this indicator.


Outlook Positive Neutral Negative
Wage growth 2 3 0
Employment 1 2 2
Cost of living 2 3 0
Household debt 0 5 0
Housing affordability 0 4 1

Dovish or hawkish?

We asked our panellists for their thoughts on whether the MPC should generally take a dovish or hawkish approach over the next 12-24 months.

This is what they had to say:

  • Philip Rush“The building margin of excess demand and excess inflation indicates monetary conditions are too loose and the MPC will need to raise Bank rate by more than markets price. That assumes a relatively orderly conclusion of the EU withdrawal process onto a status quo transition.”
  • Ian Bright“Dovish – probably because of slower global growth.”
  • Jeremy Thompson-Cook“Depending on the Brexit outcome, the Bank of England could easily be both but I think they will end up leaning dovishly. The Bank has prioritised growth over inflation in the past and I don’t see that changing with Carney in charge.”

History of the Bank of England official bank rate

The graph below shows the movement in the official bank rate. A lower bank rate reduces the cost of borrowing money so more people are encouraged to borrow – stimulating the economy. Higher interest rates tend to encourage spending. This is how a rise or fall in rates affects the level of supply and demand and therefore the level of inflation.

Month and year Official Bank Rate
Aug-06 4.75%
Sep-06 4.75%
Oct-06 4.75%
Nov-06 5.00%
Dec-06 5.00%
Jan-07 5.25%
Feb-07 5.25%
Mar-07 5.25%
Apr-07 5.25%
May-07 5.50%
Jun-07 5.50%
Jul-07 5.75%
Aug-07 5.75%
Sep-07 5.75%
Oct-07 5.75%
Nov-07 5.75%
Dec-07 5.50%
Jan-08 5.50%
Feb-08 5.25%
Mar-08 5.25%
Apr-08 5.00%
May-08 5.00%
Jun-08 5.00%
Jul-08 5.00%
Aug-08 5.00%
Sep-08 5.00%
Oct-08 4.50%
Nov-08 3.00%
Dec-08 2.00%
Jan-09 1.50%
Feb-09 1.00%
Mar-09 0.50%
Apr-09 0.50%
May-09 0.50%
Jun-09 0.50%
Jul-09 0.50%
Aug-09 0.50%
Sep-09 0.50%
Oct-09 0.50%
Nov-09 0.50%
Dec-09 0.50%
Jan-10 0.50%
Feb-10 0.50%
Mar-10 0.50%
Apr-10 0.50%
May-10 0.50%
Jun-10 0.50%
Jul-10 0.50%
Aug-10 0.50%
Sep-10 0.50%
Oct-10 0.50%
Nov-10 0.50%
Dec-10 0.50%
Jan-11 0.50%
Feb-11 0.50%
Mar-11 0.50%
Apr-11 0.50%
May-11 0.50%
Jun-11 0.50%
Jul-11 0.50%
Aug-11 0.50%
Sep-11 0.50%
Oct-11 0.50%
Nov-11 0.50%
Dec-11 0.50%
Jan-12 0.50%
Feb-12 0.50%
Mar-12 0.50%
Apr-12 0.50%
May-12 0.50%
Jun-12 0.50%
Jul-12 0.50%
Aug-12 0.50%
Sep-12 0.50%
Oct-12 0.50%
Nov-12 0.50%
Dec-12 0.50%
Jan-13 0.50%
Feb-13 0.50%
Mar-13 0.50%
Apr-13 0.50%
May-13 0.50%
Jun-13 0.50%
Jul-13 0.50%
Aug-13 0.50%
Sep-13 0.50%
Oct-13 0.50%
Nov-13 0.50%
Dec-13 0.50%
Jan-14 0.50%
Feb-14 0.50%
Mar-14 0.50%
Apr-14 0.50%
May-14 0.50%
Jun-14 0.50%
Jul-14 0.50%
Aug-14 0.50%
Sep-14 0.50%
Oct-14 0.50%
Nov-14 0.50%
Dec-14 0.50%
Jan-15 0.50%
Feb-15 0.50%
Mar-15 0.50%
Apr-15 0.50%
May-15 0.50%
Jun-15 0.50%
Jul-15 0.50%
Aug-15 0.50%
Sep-15 0.50%
Oct-15 0.50%
Nov-15 0.50%
Dec-15 0.50%
Jan-16 0.50%
Feb-16 0.50%
Mar-16 0.50%
Apr-16 0.50%
May-16 0.50%
Jun-16 0.50%
Jul-16 0.50%
Aug-16 0.25%
Sep-16 0.25%
Oct-16 0.25%
Nov-16 0.25%
Dec-16 0.25%
Jan-17 0.25%
Feb-17 0.25%
Mar-17 0.25%
Apr-17 0.25%
May-17 0.25%
Jun-17 0.25%
Jul-17 0.25%
Aug-17 0.25%
Sep-17 0.25%
Oct-17 0.25%
Nov-17 0.50%
Dec-17 0.50%
Jan-18 0.50%
Feb-18 0.50%
Mar-18 0.50%
Apr-18 0.50%
May-18 0.50%
Jun-18 0.50%
Jul-18 0.50%
Aug-18 0.75%
Sep-18 0.75%
Nov-18 0.75%
Dec-18 0.75%
Jan-19 0.75%
Feb-19 0.75%
Mar-19 0.75%
Apr-19 0.75%
Jun-19 0.75%
Jul-19 0.75%
Aug-19 0.75%
Sep-19 0.75%
Nov-19 0.75%
Dec-19 0.75%
Jan-20 0.75%
Feb-20 0.75%

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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