Anchor: The Bank of Korea(BOK) has marked down its economic growth outlook for this year to two-and-a-half percent, citing declining exports. Meanwhile, the central bank kept the nation's key rate steady for the fifth consecutive month.
Our Bae Joo-yon has more.
Report: BOK Governor Lee Ju-yeol announced on Thursday that the bank slashed the nation’s 2019 economic growth outlook by point-one percentage point to two-and-a-half percent.
The adjustment came after the central bank downgraded the growth projection from two-point-seven percent to two-point-six percent earlier in January.
Lee blamed sluggish exports and investments in the first quarter, which he said were below expectations, but forecast they would slowly recover in the second half of the year.
The latest outlook suggests that economic conditions have gotten worse. Last week, the International Monetary Fund maintained its two-point-six percent projection for South Korea while lowering the global economic growth outlook.
Key economic indices are on the decline, including inflation which plunged to a record low of half a percent in the first quarter.
Lee revealed the downgrade after the monetary policy committee froze the benchmark interest rate at one-point-75 percent for the fifth straight month following a quarter percentage point increase last November.
The bank said it decided to keep the rate unchanged as the global economy is seeing weakened growth, while the volatility of some countries’ currencies have expanded. It also cited uncertainties surrounding Brexit as another reason for freezing the key rate.
Despite the weaker growth estimate, Lee said the bank isn't considering a rate cut at this point as the current monetary policy is accommodative.
Bae Joo-yon, KBS World Radio News.