Korea′s central bank holds key rate at 2% 한은, 2월 기준금리 동결

As widely expected by market watchers,… Korea′s central bank is keeping its key rate steady… at two percent.
But with scores of countries around the world loosening their monetary policies,… the sentiment is …that the Bank of Korea will follow suit and cut its rate… sometime in the first half of the year.
Hwang Ji-hye has more.
The Bank of Korea has decided to stand pat on its key interest rate of 2 percent… for the fourth straight month in February.
The rate freeze that came on Tuesday right before the Lunar New Year holiday… gives the central bank more time to gauge the impact of two previous rate cuts in August and October last year.
Those cuts, which came in line with government efforts to prop up the ailing domestic economy,… left the country′s base rate at an historic low… not seen since the height of the global financial crisis in 2009.
Still,… market expectations are growing for another rate cut in the first half of this year.
They′re being driven by a wave of global monetary easing… that countries like China, India and Australia are engaged in,… along with weak economic sentiment at home despite aggressive government stimulus measures.
Low inflation also leaves room for more monetary easing.
But lowering the key rate stokes concerns… about the country′s snowballing household debt… that already exceeds 900 billion U.S. dollars.
The government′s deregulation drive in the housing sector… and a lower key interest rate have worked together to boost housing loans.
Korea′s Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan also emphasizes the importance of implementing structural reforms,… as top central banker Lee Ju-yeol says… the current two percent rate is sufficient to support the country′s recovery momentum.
Hwang Ji-hye, Arirang News.