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No rate rise until 2012, predict economists

It is unlikely that interest rates will rise before next year, according to some of the country’s leading economists.

In a poll carried out by the BBC, 26 of the 35 economists surveyed said they did not expect interest rates to rise this year, and more than half predicted that rates would reach 1.5% by the end of 2012.

12 economists said they expect rates to first go up in the first quarter of 2012, while six anticipate that rates will rise in the final quarter of this year. Three forecasters believe that rates will remain unchanged until 2013.

The poll was published ahead of the Bank of England’s latest announcement on interest rates on 4 August.

UK interest rates have remained unchanged at 0.5% for over two years, providing a welcome reprieve to many home owners with tracker mortgages.

However, the historically low rate has hit savers hard and prompted calls for the Bank of England to raise rates in the coming months.

Minutes from last month’s meeting revealed that the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted seven to two in favour of holding rates at 0.5%.