Deputy Bureau Chief for Korea, Seoul, South Korea
Choonsik's Feed
Aug 13, 2015

Bank of Korea holds rates steady, but volatile China a risk

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s central bank kept interest rates steady on Thursday, maintaining its view that the struggling economy is on track for recovery, but analysts said growing uncertainties in China could prompt it to cut rates later in the year.

The Bank of Korea’s monetary policy committee unanimously left the base rate KROCRT=ECI at a record low of 1.50 percent for a second consecutive month. It cut the rate by a combined 1 percentage point between August last year and June this year.

Aug 6, 2015

South Korean dreams fade as economy and president struggle

SEOUL, Aug 6 (Reuters) – It took three years and acceptance
of a sharp wage cut for machinery repair engineer Choi In-chan,
52, to find a job earlier this year.

Like many baby boomers who enjoyed South Korea’s heady
growth years, Choi has been doubly squeezed by the country’s
recent economic malaise: not only is he unprepared as retirement
looms, but his adult son is unable to find a full-time job.

Aug 6, 2015

South Korea president says economy needs ‘major surgery’

SEOUL, Aug 6 (Reuters) – South Korea’s president called on
Thursday for “major sugery” on the economy, which faces slowing
growth and increasing challenges as she approaches the half-way
point of her single five-year term.

Park Geun-hye, whose popularity has dipped below 40 percent,
has fallen short on pledges to breathe fresh momentum into
Asia’s fourth-largest economy and seen her push for labour
market reforms and job creation sputter.

Aug 1, 2015

S.Korea July exports fall, outlook on China grows gloomier

SEOUL, Aug 1 (Reuters) – South Korean exports extended their
losing streak to a seventh straight month in July, pointing to
little respite in sight for Asia’s trade-reliant economies as
Chinese demand cools and global commodity prices take a fresh
tumble.

Exports fell 3.3 percent on-year to $46.61 billion in July
while imports slumped 15.3 percent to $38.85 billion, generating
a trade surplus of $7.76 billion in July, trade ministry data
showed on Saturday.

Jul 16, 2015

Unable to curb household debt, S.Korea puts focus on loan quality

SEOUL, July 16 (Reuters) – South Korea’s government has
effectively abandoned its goal to cut one of the world’s highest
levels of household debt, and will instead try to curb riskier
types of loans as a weak economy forces it to focus on growth,
officials told Reuters.

But with the average household already spending more than
one-third of disposable income on repayments and the sector’s
debts reaching $1 trillion, the government risks creating a
bigger drag on economic growth once interest rates rise again.

Jul 9, 2015

Bank of Korea cuts growth prospects, holds rates for now

SEOUL, July 9 (Reuters) – South Korea’s central bank cut the
country’s economic growth forecast but kept interest rates
steady at a record low on Thursday, signalling that consumption
and exports remained weak.

The central bank governor’s cautious remarks about the
recovery and downgrades for growth this year and next, appear to
leave the door open to more easing if needed, economists said.

Jul 9, 2015

South Korea keeps rates unchanged, seen cutting growth forecasts

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s central bank kept interest rates steady at a record low of 1.50 percent on Thursday, in a widely expected decision after the central bank cut rates in June to pre-emptively combat an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

A Bank of Korea media official announced the monetary policy committee’s decision to keep the base rate KROCRT=ECI unchanged without elaborating. Governor Lee Ju-yeol is due to hold a news conference from 11:20 a.m. (0320 BST).

Jun 11, 2015

South Korea cuts rates as MERS clouds outlook; 14 new cases

SEOUL (Reuters) – An outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) forced South Korea to cut interest rates on Thursday in the hope of softening the blow to an economy already burdened by slack demand, as authorities reported 14 new cases.

Worry in South Korea about the disease has been reflected across the region with dozens of suspected cases being tested in Hong Kong, though none confirmed, and many thousands of people cancelling trips to South Korea.

Jun 11, 2015

South Korea cuts rates to record low as government steps up fight against MERS

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s central bank cut its policy rate by 25 basis points to a record-low 1.50 percent on Thursday, as policymakers sought to shield a tottering economy from an outbreak of a deadly respiratory disease.

Nine people have died since the outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was first reported in late May, fuelling public anxiety and hitting spending, with thousands in quarantine and hundreds of schools closed.

Jun 11, 2015

S.Korea cuts rates to record low as govt steps up fight against MERS

SEOUL, June 11 (Reuters) – South Korea’s central bank cut
its policy rate by 25 basis points to a record-low 1.50 percent
on Thursday, as policymakers sought to shield a tottering
economy from an outbreak of a deadly respiratory disease.

Nine people have died since the outbreak of the Middle East
Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was first reported in late May,
fuelling public anxiety and hitting spending, with thousands in
quarantine and hundreds of schools closed.