Predictions for Thursdays’ interest rate decision

Analysts are predicting that the base rate of interest will remain steady at 5.75 per cent this Thursday.

Christmas shoppers may be relieved to hear that most experts believe that the Bank of England’s interest rate decision making monetary policy committee (MPC) will keep rates unchanged.

The December interest rate decision will be announced at midday on Thursday December 6th and MPC members are expected to keep them unchanged in light of a recent dip in the property markets, economic uncertainty and high energy prices.

According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, the chances of a cut in interest rates stand at around 20 per cent, while Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at Global Insight, claims that "it’s right on the margin" but is likely to remain at 5.75 per cent.

Making his prediction for Thursday’s MPC meeting, Trevor Williams, UK chief economist for Lloyds TSB, said: "We’re going for a hold at 5.75. We think there will be a cut in February 2008."

Calls are growing for a reduction in interest rates amid increases in food prices, forecasts of an economic slowdown and further pressures on household finances.