Bank of Korea to keep interest rates steady

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    SEOUL- South Korea’s central bank will likely keep interest rates on hold on Thursday as the central bank weighs concerns about rising household debt and property prices with the need to support a coronavirus-hit economy.

    The Bank of Korea (BOK) was expected to keep its base rate steady at a record low of 0.50 percent, according to all 26 analysts surveyed by Reuters, after a total of 75 basis points rate cuts since March.

    Thirteen of 15 analysts who provided forecasts for end-2021 saw the BOK holding rates throughout this year and next. One forecast a rate cut in 2021 and the other a rate hike.

    South Korea’s economy plunged into recession in the second quarter of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic battered exports and business activity, despite efforts by the government and the central bank to support Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

    “It is true that the gloomy economic condition warrants an accommodative monetary policy,” said Kim Jina, analyst at IBK Investment & Securities. — Reuters