The Bank of England will deliver its keenly-awaited outlook on prospects for the economy today, amid mounting speculation that it could raise interest rates before the end of this year.
Its quarterly Inflation Report will for the first time be published alongside the Bank’s decision on rates for the month, as well as minutes disclosing how members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted.
The MPC is expected to leave rates on hold for now at 0.5 per cent - where they have been for more than six years.
But a number of economists expect a split in the nine-member committee for the first time this year, with a number of dissenters voting for an increase to 0.75 per cent.
The Bank’s views in its quarterly report on the path of inflation will also be seen as critical. If policy-makers think inflationary pressures are building, amid accelerating wage growth, it will further fuel speculation that a rates rise is nearing.
A hike would spell higher repayments for mortgage borrowers and a glimmer of hope for savers who have seen the value of their nest eggs eroded by rock-bottom rates.
The Bank rate has remained the same since it was cut to 0.5 per cent in March 2009 to help prop up the UK economy at the height of the financial crisis. It was last increased in July 2007 when it went up to 5.75 per cent.
Until recently the next hike was pencilled in by the City for the middle of next year, but remarks from Bank governor Mark Carney and other officials have changed the picture.
Mr Carney said in a recent speech that a decision on a rise would “come into sharper relief around the turn of this year”.
The release of the Inflation Report, rates decision and minutes - all previously published on separate dates - has been dubbed “super Thursday” by Bank watchers because of the slew of information being made available simultaneously.
It comes after latest gross domestic product (GDP) figures showed the economy bouncing back from a weak start of the year to post 0.7 per cent expansion in the second quarter.