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BOK holds key rate steady at 3.5%By Im Eun-byel
Published : Oct. 19, 2023 - 10:36
The Bank of Korea maintained its benchmark interest rate at 3.5 percent on Thursday, amid heightened economic uncertainties provoked by tension in the Middle East.
Falling in line with market expectations, the central bank held the rate once again, keeping it steady since February.
The BOK was pressured by rebounding inflation. Consumer prices growth in Korea stood at 3.7 percent in September and 3.4 percent in August, surging from how the figure stayed in the 2 percent range in the previous two months.
Volatility in international oil prices threatens the Korean economy as well. The rise in oil prices is expected to work as an upward pressure on prices in Korea, a country heavily dependent on energy imports.
Snowballing household debt poses a risk for the economy, too. Banks’ outstanding household loans had come to 1,079.8 trillion won ($800 billion) as of end-September, increasing for a sixth month straight.
The Bank of Korea’s last rate-setting decision of the year will be made on Nov. 30. The US Federal Open Market Committee is to hold two more meetings within the year, Oct. 31-Nov. 1 and Dec. 12-13.
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