UPDATE 1-S.Korea c.bank holds rates; eyes U.S. impasse
(Adds context, analyst comments, market reaction)
* Base rate kept at 2.50 pct (Reuters poll: 2.50 pct
* Most analysts polled see rate hike in 2014
* Little change expected for economic forecasts
SEOUL, Oct 10 (Reuters) - South Korea's central bank maintained held rates as expected for a fifth straight month on Thursday, keeping its base rate at 2.50 percent.
Governor Kim Choong-soo is due to hold a news conference from 11:20 a.m. (0220 GMT).
All 21 analysts in a Reuters poll forecast the Bank of Korea would leave its base rate unchanged at 2.50 percent at its Oct. 10 meeting. A majority of those who gave a clear forecast on the central bank's future rate move said interest rates would be hiked in 2014.
The central bank will release its latest batch of economic growth forecasts for this year and 2014 later on Thursday, from its previous projection of an annual 2.8 percent growth this year.
"The Bank of Korea will likely maintain a relatively bullish 2014 growth forecast for the time being. However, there are downside risks exist to the strength of domestic demand given elevated household debt and sluggish property prices," said Ronald Man, an economist at HSBC in Hong Kong.
"For now, eyes will be on economic data from key export partners such as China, as Korea's recovery will likely be export-led."
Markets were unimpressed with the widely-anticipated rate decision and shrugged off the news. The won was down 0.3 percent on the day at 1,076.4 per dollar as of 0112 GMT and September futures on 3-year treasury bonds rose 0.04 points to 105.85. Seoul shares were up 0.1 percent at 2,005.41 points.
The central bank has reiterated in recent weeks that Asia's fourth-largest economy is slowly but steadily on its path to recovery after weathering two consecutive global crises from 2008.
Analysts have said the Bank of Korea has little, if any reason to change rates until after the central bank's new governor, who takes office next April, is settled in his or her new position.
The recent tug-of-war between Congress and the White House to raise the U.S.'s debt ceiling is expected to have limited results, although for South Korea the long-term risks are on the downside.
"Right now, price pressures are too light for interest rates to change and there is very little chance that the Bank of Korea will change its policy before advanced economies do," said Lee Jae-hyung, a fixed-income analyst at Tong Yang Securities.
(Editing by Eric Meijer)