Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol
In its first rate-setting meeting of the year, the Bank of Korea on Friday decided to keep its policy rate unchanged at a record low 1.25 percent amid signs of improving economic conditions.
The rate has been kept steady since October after the monetary policy board cut the rate two times by a quarter percentage point to match the all-time low.
In a statement, the board said "sluggishness in exports and facilities investment will gradually ease and the consumption growth rate will moderately rise."
The central bank is widely expected to again trim the base rate to support the local economy, as outbound shipments dropped for 13 consecutive months as of December, on weak demand and prices for semiconductors, the country's single largest export item.
Signaling a possible recovery, reports showed exports reached 13.3 billion dollars in the first 10 days of this month, up 5.3 percent from the same period last year.
BOK Governor Lee Ju-yeol earlier said the central bank would continue to maintain its easing stance in 2020, but first check the effects of the two cuts last year.■
<Photo: Yonhap News>
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