Category: Personal Savings
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Inflation falls - but so do savings rates

Category: Savings

Updated: 17/05/2016
First Published: 17/05/2016

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that inflation fell to 0.3% in April, down from 0.5% in March and reversing that months increase. It also marks the first time that inflation has fallen since September last year, and in good news for savers, it means that their deposits are now better protected against the ravages of inflation.

Indeed, 658 of the 804 savings accounts currently on the market can beat or match inflation, and of these 598 (96 no notice, 58 notice, 242 fixed rate bonds and 202 cash ISAs) are without restrictive criteria, which means that there are plenty of options for those looking to secure inflation-beating returns.

However, what wont come as such welcome news is the fact that average savings rates have fallen even further in the last month, which means that, although savers returns will be maintained, those returns wont exactly be high in the first place.

No end to cuts

Our latest figures show that rate reductions in the savings market have now outweighed rate rises for seven consecutive months: in April, we recorded just 28 savings rate rises, but rate reductions over the same period completely outshone this figure to stand at a staggering 143, with some deals falling by as much as 0.55%.

Essentially, this means that only one rate increase is now recorded for every five cuts, and as Moneyfacts Charlotte Nelson comments, it probably feels as though the decline in the savings market will never end.

Savers wont be surprised to hear that the savings market is still in decline, she said. Those relying on their savings income are in a particularly difficult position and have the unenviable task of trying to find a decent return in a market that is stuck in a downwards slide.

The savings market has been weakened by not only a record low base rate but also economic uncertainty and a lack of competition, which has made it difficult for savers to achieve a high return. The figures speak for themselves: five years ago it was possible to get an easy access account that paid 3.01% yearly, but today the best easy access rate (from RCI Bank UK) is less than half that at 1.45%.

Indeed, you cant earn a rate of 3.00% or more on any standard account, even if youre willing to lock your money away - and in fact, fixed rate accounts have been particularly hard hit by rate cuts.

Fixed rate bonds are traditionally the go-to deals to achieve the best rate of interest, added Charlotte. However, with 58% of recent savings cuts being concentrated on these accounts, its unsurprising to see that the average one-year fixed rate bond has fallen by 0.29% to 1.22% (an all-time low) in just six months.

Think outside the box

In light of the state of the savings market at present, its no wonder disheartened savers are turning to alternative methods of boosting their nest egg. Some high interest current accounts pay up to 5%, which completely dwarfs the 1.45% currently offered by the best easy access account on the market, which could make it a far more appealing choice for hard-pressed savers.

So why not consider this kind of option? You may think that the introduction of the Personal Savings Allowance
would mean that savers are feeling a little better off, Charlotte concludes. But thanks to the rate-cutting frenzy, it seems that low savings rates are the new norm, meaning savers will need to work extra hard to stay on top of the best buys to ensure they get the best possible deal.

What next?

Compare the best savings accounts to see if you can get a better deal

Want even better rates? Check out the top high interest current accounts