This Thursday's interest rates decision by the Bank of England is widely tipped to result in the first rate cuts in more than two years, according to most papers today.
The FT says a cut would mark exactly a year since the last increase, which took the base rate to 4.75%.
But, with increasing evidence of a slumping economy, flagging consumer spending and a manufacturing sector in recession, money market deals all point to a 25 points cut and a turn in the credit cycle, the paper writes.
The Times says last month’s marginal vote to retain rates at their current level will be overturned in the wake of further revisions to GDP data, which now suggest second quarter growth was the worst for more than a decade.
What is less certain, however, is how far rates may be cut by the end of 2005: some analysts are even suggesting they could be cut now, only to possibly increase again by the end of the year, the paper adds.
The Guardian agrees on this point, adding the Monetary Policy Committee faces a dilemma as while the economy is cooling, inflationary factors such as energy prices remain at record highs.
A TIMETABLE FOR wrapping up pensions reform has been outlined by pensions minister Stephen Timms in an interview with The Times, suggesting new legislation will be in place to take effect by 2010.
That year has been picked as it will already incur change with the retirement age of women being increased by one year each until 2015, when it will be on par with men at 65.
Timms says a consultation document will be published by government by next spring following publication of the second Pensions Commission report expected this autumn.
That document will look to “set out initial legislation” by the end of 2006. Timms says a key issue will be extending working life, and that this “is clearly going to be part of the solution.”
The Daily Telegraph picks up the pensions reform story by highlighting a report from Lombard Street Research, suggesting the pensions ‘crisis’ has been blow up out of all proportions.
Professor Tim Congdon says broad national savings are actually above historical averages, and that there is more than enough money put away to cover retirement.
Specifically in relation to the first Pensions Commission report, which suggested some 12 million Britons have failed to save enough for retirement, Gongdon says the Commission has focused too much on low household savings, ignoring a broader index of national savings.
"The correct concept of saving in our analysis is the savings of the nation as a whole (ie the sum of the savings of the household, public, company and financial institution sectors)". On this analysis, savings are now two points above their post-war average of 13.8pc.
STANDARD LIFE BANK is not for sale, according to comments from the firm’s chief executive Anne Gunther carried in The Scotsman
Noting that the bank is “about the same sized” as Yorkshire Building Society, which has been around for 150 years, Gunther says there are no plans to offload a business seen as central to Standard Life’s group strategy.
"Our products sit well alongside the group's range of financial products and it wouldn't make sense to sell it off because its value is inevitably linked to its brand name.”
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Jonathan Boyd on 020 7484 9769 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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