Interest rates and inflation are closely linked in the UK economy. Inflation, measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Retail Price Index (RPI), is the rate at which the prices of services and goods are rising.
The Bank of England (BoE) is responsible for setting the base rate to help control inflation and maintain price stability.
What Causes Inflation?
When the BoE raises interest rates, borrowing becomes more expensive. This can slow down economic growth and curb inflation. This is because higher interest rates make it more expensive for businesses to borrow money, which leads to slower growth and fewer job opportunities.
Consumers also have less money to spend because they are paying more interest on loans and mortgages. As a result, demand for goods and services decreases, which can lead to lower prices.
On the other hand, when the BoE lowers interest rates, borrowing becomes cheaper. This can help stimulate economic growth and fuel inflation. When interest rates become lower, it makes it cheaper for businesses to borrow money, which can lead to more investment and create more jobs.
Consumers also have more money to spend because they are paying less on loans and mortgages. This means the demand for goods and services increases, which can lead to higher prices.
How Does the Bank of England Control Inflation and Interest Rates?
The Bank of England uses monetary policy to control inflation and interest rates. The bank sets interest rates, which influence the cost of borrowing and the rate of growth in the money supply.
When inflation is too high, the bank raises interest rates to reduce spending and slow down the economy. When inflation is too low, the bank lowers interest rates to encourage spending and growth. The bank also uses other tools, such as quantitative easing, to influence the money supply and control inflation.
Quantitative easing (QE) is a monetary policy used by central banks to stimulate the economy by increasing the money supply and lowering interest rates. This is typically done by purchasing government bonds or other financial assets from banks, which increases the banks' reserves and makes it easier for them to lend money.
The goal of QE is to encourage spending and investment, which can help boost economic growth and reduce unemployment.
This can help to stimulate economic growth and curb inflation by making it cheaper for businesses and consumers to borrow money.
What You Need To Remember
When interest rates are high, borrowing becomes more expensive and can slow down economic growth whilst curbing inflation. When interest rates are low, borrowing becomes cheaper and can stimulate economic growth.