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Toeing The Line on Accelerated Taper

     By David Robinson and Irene Prihoda
     LONDON (MNI) - Bank of England money and credit data showed a 
decline in mortgage approvals while the average interest rates paid by 
borrowers remained at all time lows and unsecured credit growth 
atrophied.
     The data highlight how the rise in Bank Rate, from 0.25% to 0.75%, 
has not fed through to higher interest payments for many borrowers. The 
housing market overall, however, looks subdued.
     The following are key points from the BOE data sets:
     -The number of mortgage approvals, a good indicator of future 
house purchases, fell to 62,341 in March from 65,340 in February, the 
lowest reading since December 2017.
     With London house prices declining and most surveys showing subdued 
house price inflation elsewhere, there is plenty of evidence of a soft 
housing market.
     -The average interest rate on the stock of fixed 3,4 and 5 year 
mortgages hit posted fresh series lows in March. The average interest 
rate on the stock of all fixed rate mortgages was unchanged at 2.23% for 
the third consecutive month, a joint all-time low. 
    -Unsecured borrowing growth was very low in March, increasing by 
just stg0.549 million, down from stg1.229 billion in February and the 
lowest reading since November 2013.
    UK consumers, in March at least, did not fuel spending through 
unpaid credit card and other borrowing.  
     As consumer confidence remains weak these data raise questions 
over whether consumption will underpin economic growth in the months 
ahead.
       
 -London newsroom: e-mail: david.robinson@marketnews.com  
[TOPICS: M$B$$$,M$$BE$,MABDS$]