S. Korea holds key interest rate steady
SEOUL • Scandal-hit South Korea kept its key interest rate unchanged yesterday at a record low, amid uncertainty over political changes in the country as well as in the United States.
Its central bank - Bank of Korea - held the seven-day repurchase rate at 1.25 per cent for the fifth straight month after Mr Donald Trump's victory in the US presidential election sent jitters around the globe.
Meanwhile, South Korean President Park Geun Hye's government is struggling to contain the fallout from a crippling influence-peddling scandal involving one of her confidantes.
The Bank of Korea made a surprise rate cut in June, citing the need to support the sluggish economy.
South Korea's exports, the mainstay of Asia's fourth-largest economy, fell for the second straight month last month mainly because of a slump in car and mobile device shipments.
Japan's factory and service sectors upbeat
TOKYO • Japanese manufacturers' confidence has risen for a third straight month to a 15-month high this month, while the mood in the service sector rebounded from a 31/2-year low in the prior month, a Reuters poll showed, in a sign of a gradual economic recovery.
The Reuters Tankan, which strongly correlates with the Bank of Japan's quarterly Tankan survey, found that manufacturers' mood is expected to worsen over the next three months, while service-sector sentiment is seen as rising further.
The monthly poll was of 531 large and medium-sized firms, of which 257 responded between Oct 26 and Tuesday this week.
The Reuters Tankan's sentiment index for manufacturers rose to 14 from 10 last month, driven by exporters of cars, electronics, precision machinery and metal products. But it is expected to worsen to 3 next February.