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UPDATE 1-BOK holds rates for 10th mth as N.Korea event, U.S. Treasury report awaited
2017年4月13日 / 凌晨1点22分 / 7 个月前

UPDATE 1-BOK holds rates for 10th mth as N.Korea event, U.S. Treasury report awaited

(Adds detail, analyst quote)

* BOK keeps rates at 1.25 pct (Reuters poll 1.25 pct)

* Central bank wary over U.S. Treasury report, North Korea

* Pyongyang tells reporters to prepare for “big, important” event

* Economic forecast revisions due later

By Christine Kim and Cynthia Kim

SEOUL, April 13 (Reuters) - South Korea’s central bank kept interest rates unchanged for a 10th straight month on Thursday, wary of geopolitical risks around North Korea and ahead of a much-anticipated U.S. Treasury report on foreign currency policy.

The Bank of Korea’s monetary policy committee held its base rate steady at 1.25 percent, a media official said without elaborating. Governor Lee Ju-yeol is due to hold a news conference from 11:20 a.m. (0220 GMT).

All 21 analysts surveyed in a Reuters poll before the decision forecast the Bank of Korea would leave the base rate unchanged on Thursday.

A majority of analysts see the central bank on hold for the rest of the year and some see tightening beginning next year.

The central bank will release quarterly revisions to its economic forecasts later in the day.

“We’ll have to see what the reasoning was behind the rate decision and whether Lee’s comments change from his previous remarks but at this stage I don’t think the BOK’s rate stance will change,” said Choi Un-sun, a fixed-income analyst at Cape Investment & Securities. Choi also sees the BOK standing pat until year-end.

Markets shrugged off the interest rate announcement, with the won and stocks up slightly and futures on three-year treasury bonds rising 0.09 points to trade at 109.49.

Market players were keeping a close eye on movements in North Korea, where visiting foreign journalists were gathered in Pyongyang for “a big and important event” early on Thursday.

Analysts have said any revisions to the BOK’s forecasts were likely to be minimal, although considering recent positive indicators such as exports and inflation, the BOK could upgrade its growth outlook.

The BOK and the finance ministry are awaiting the April 13 release of a semi-annual U.S. Treasury report on the currency policies of its major trading partners, which includes South Korea.

Policymakers have fretted over whether South Korea will be named as a currency manipulator in the report although on balance they are confident it is unlikely.

Consumer price growth in South Korea picked up at the fastest pace in nearly five years in March as the prices of fresh food and services rose, signalling a rebound in domestic demand after months of weakening consumer sentiment amid a corruption scandal that led to the ouster of President Park Geun-hye.

Rising household debt also remains an issue for the central bank, as previous interest rate cuts by the Bank of Korea have been identified as a key reason behind feverish borrowing.

The BOK did not hold a rate-setting meeting in March as it has reduced the number of such meetings starting this year to eight from 12. (Additional reporting by Dahee Kim; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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