Exactly one year since the credit crunch started retail sales have shown their biggest fall on record in Britain, news that is likely to spur recession talk among consumers, who are already feeling the pinch from rising fuel and food costs.
Borrowers might be under the cosh, but savers have never had it so good. Historically, when the Bank of England (BoE) base rate changes, mortgage and savings rates follow suit. But amidst the current credit crunch, those with spare cash and prepared to move their money around can take advantage of banks’ and building societies’ eagerness to attract retail funds.
Thursday’s cut in interest rates should come as some relief to hard-pressed borrowers, under the cosh from the credit squeeze which has seen lenders raise their rates, cut maximum loan-to-values and tighten lending criteria. Those on tracker rates – that mirror movements in the base rate – will, of course, see a reduction in the amount of interest they pay. Others, though, are at the mercy of their lenders.