Interest rates will rise in the “relatively near term” the Governor of the Bank of England has told the BBC.
In the clearest indication yet that there could be a rate rise as early as November, Mark Carney suggested that it was time for the bank to “ease its foot off the accelerator”.
The next opportunity for a change in interest rates is the Bank’s monetary policy committee meeting on 2 November.
The Governor also warned that personal lending was becoming “a little frothy”.
He said that while overall household borrowing had come down markedly since the financial crisis, there was a prospect of “reckless” lending developing.
“What we’re worried about is a pocket of risk – a risk in consumer debt, credit card debt, debt for cars, personal loans,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.
He said banks had “not been as disciplined as they should be” in their underwriting standards and pricing of this debt.
‘Limited and gradual’
Pressed on when the Bank was likely to raise interest rates, a move that would make borrowing more expensive, Mr Carney confirmed the latest analysis from the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee.
“If the economy continues on the track that it’s been on, and all indications are that it is, in the relatively near term we can expect that interest rates will increase,” he said.
Speculation has been growing that the Bank could raise interest rates at its next meeting. The last time rates were raised was July 2007 before the financial crisis. Since then interest rates have been kept low in order to boost the economy by keeping cost of borrowing down.
“We’re talking about just easing the foot off the accelerator to keep with the speed limit of the economy and so interest rate increases when they come – when and if they come – will be to a limited extent and gradual,” he added.
Despite Mr Carney’s comments the pound has slipped very slightly against the dollar and the euro.