Seoul freezes benchmark interest rate at 1.5%

By Wooyoung Lee  |  July 12, 2018 at 6:34 AM
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SEOUL, July 12 (UPI) -- The Bank of Korea decided Thursday to freeze South Korea's interest rate at 1.5 percent for the eighth consecutive month amid economic uncertainty over global trade wars.

The BOK Governor Lee Ju-yeol and monetary policy board members maintained the benchmark rate due to increased market volatility, a move widely expected by finance experts, according to Yonhap.

"Global financial market volatility has increased due to the concerns of the global trade wars and an appreciation in the U.S. dollar," the BOK statement read.

The BOK also lowered its GDP growth forecast from 3 percent to 2.9 percent for this year.

The South Korean economy depends heavily on exports and concerns are rising that its economy would shrink if exports struggle amid global trade wars.

South Korean exports decreased by 1.9 percent year-on-year for the period of July 1-10, according to Herald Business.

The interest rate freeze comes after inflation of 1.5 percent in June. The BOK's goal was 2 percent, according to Yonhap. Job growth seems to have stalled as the number of new employees this year have increased just by 106,000 compared to a year before.

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