Money Briefs: S. Korea central bank cuts growth outlook to 2.7%

S. Korea central bank cuts growth outlook to 2.7%

SEOUL • South Korea's central bank yesterday cut the country's growth outlook and kept the key interest rate unchanged at a record low as exports sputter and demand slumps.

The Bank of Korea said it expects the economy to expand 2.7 per cent this year, just three months after cutting its forecast to 2.8 per cent.

It also left borrowing costs unchanged at 1.25 per cent as it looks to assess the impact of last month's reduction - which was the first in a year - as well as newly announced stimulus measures.

Britain's shock decision to leave the European Union last month added to uncertainty for the South's export prospects, bank governor Lee Ju Yeol said.

Seoul's Finance Ministry cut its own growth outlook to 2.8 per cent from 3.1 per cent last month.


JPMorgan's Q2 profit slips 1.4% to $8.3 billion

NEW YORK • JPMorgan Chase, the biggest United States bank by assets, said second-quarter profit fell 1.4 per cent, beating analysts' estimates as fixed-income trading revenue and loan growth jumped.

Net income dropped to US$6.2 billion (S$8.3 billion), or US$1.55 a share, from US$6.29 billion, or US$1.54 a share, a year earlier, the company said yesterday in a statement. Revenue climbed 2.8 per cent to US$25.2 billion. That figure included US$3.96 billion from fixed-income trading, a 35-per-cent increase, and US$1.6 billion from equity trading, up 1.5 per cent.

JPMorgan kicks off the earnings season for US banks, and may offer insight into the industry's prospects for trading and advisory operations after Britain's surprise vote last month to leave the European Union.

While JPMorgan executives have said trading rebounded in April and May, that was before the referendum roiled markets and pushed out expectations for additional US interest-rate increases to at least next year.


Sharp jump in full-time jobs Down Under

SYDNEY • Australian employment rose only modestly last month while the unemployment rate ticked up to 5.8 per cent, yet a sharp jump in full-time jobs was welcomed by investors who nudged the local dollar higher.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that 7,900 net new jobs were created in June, after a gain of 19,200 the month before. Full-time employment impressed with an increase of 38,400 as such positions tend to pay much better than temporary work.

The unemployment rate edged up a tick to 5.8 per cent from 5.7 per cent, but remains considerably lower than policymakers had forecast at the start of the year.

Investors pushed the local dollar up a quarter of a US cent to 76.28 US cents after the data, though the figures were not considered so strong as to lessen the chance of a cut in interest rates in coming months.

The Reserve Bank of Australia has kept rates at a record low of 1.75 per cent since cutting them in May.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2016, with the headline 'Money Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe