Interest rates could be about to get more interesting, with cut to 0.25 per cent widely expected next week

 
Hayley Kirton
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Listen up: Interest rates could be about to fall for the first time in years (Source: Getty)

Banks and savers alike will be bracing themselves for Thursday's Bank of England announcement, when it is largely expected interest rates will be chopped.

The bank surprised many a few weeks ago when it opted to hold interest rates at its historically low 0.5 per cent level, where it has stuck since March 2009.

Many had expected a rate cut to calm the markets' post-Brexit vote nerves.

Since then, there has been a slew of disappointing economics data, including a particularly poor set of Purchasing Managers' Index figures, and some notable names from the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee have indicated they may have a change of heart and join Gertjan Vlieghe by voting to cut the rate.

"The Bank of England has now got some concrete evidence that the UK economy has weakened since the EU referendum," said Yael Selfin, head of macroeconomics at KPMG. "It is therefore expected to announce a package of measures this week to help support the economy, coinciding with its publication of the Inflation Report, which will shed some light on where it sees the economy going over the coming two years."

It has also been speculated that the central bank could turn its hand to other stimulus measures, including a round of quantitative easing.

Read more: Growth through vouchers – should central bankers be trying new things?

Although an interest rate cut would be good news to anybody looking to borrow, it would be bad for banks' earnings, which have struggled under the lower for longer rate environment.

Last Thursday, Lloyds revealed it was cutting a further 3,000 jobs and shutting down another 200 branches, with the predicted interest rate cut being partly to blame.

Meanwhile, on Friday, Barclays revealed it felt it could comfortably wade its way through a UK with a 0.25 per cent rate, particularly as a large chunk of its business is done in the US, but could struggle if the interest rate was slashed to zero.

On Friday, the Bank of Japan, who some thought might push its interest rate further past the zero mark, decided to keep its rate at minus 0.1 per cent. ‚Äč

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