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South Korea central bank holds rates, news conference awaited

Published on Apr 10, 2014 9:54 AM

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's central bank held interest rates steady for an 11th consecutive month, as expected, at the new governor's debut policy meeting, with markets pricing in rates being raised from late 2014.

The Bank of Korea's monetary policy committee, which Governor Lee Ju-yeol chaired for the first time, kept the base rate unchanged at 2.50 per cent, matching the unanimous forecast from a Reuters poll of 31 analysts.

Seoul markets showed a muted reaction to the expected decision as traders waited for the first policy news conference from 11:20 a.m. (0220 GMT) by Lee, a career technocrat who had served the bank for 35 years until early 2012.

"Recent economic data suggest that trade has started to pick up and, in turn, Korea remains on track for an export-led recovery. But the momentum is low: export growth slowed in Q1,"said Ronald Man, economist at HSBC in Hong Kong. He added that a rate cut would only come when growth faces a severe slump.

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