SEOUL, South Korea's central bank chief said Monday that he will take all macroeconomic factors into account at the upcoming rate-setting meeting amid growing concerns over an economic downturn.
"It seems that the economy faces quite big downside risks," Bank of Korea Gov. Lee Ju-yeol said in a parliamentary session. "A rate-hike decision is based on every aspect of economy. The BOK is in close cooperation with the government in carefully watching all developments."
The central bank is widely expected to raise the key rate at its last monetary policy meeting of the year slated for Nov. 30.
It has held the rate at 1.5 percent for nearly a year, citing a slowing recovery pace and low inflationary pressure.
Recently, however, it gave some signs of monetary tightening as the country's massive household credit, which has risen to nearly 1,500 trillion won (US$1.33 trillion), is reaching a dangerous point.
At the latest monetary policy meeting, held on Oct. 18, the BOK made some unusually strong comments on a possible rate hike in November, as the word "carefully" was removed from the statement on the monetary policy decision for the first time in a year.
Gov. Lee maintained this hawkish stance recently.
"I left the door open for a rate hike," said Lee at a parliamentary audit session last week. "I think I gave a message that (the central bank) will move to raise the key rate if circumstances permit."
Some are worried that recent sluggish data on corporate investment and employment will weigh heavily on the central bank ahead of the key decision.
Last week, the BOK cut its 2018 growth forecast to 2.7 percent from its earlier target of 2.9 percent.
Source: Yonhap News Agency