UPDATE 1-S.Korea c.bank holds rates for sixth mth in Nov, as expected
* Base rate kept at 2.50 pct (Reuters poll: 2.50 pct
Most analysts polled see rate hike in 2014
* Rates on hold as South Korean economy steadily improves
By Christine Kim and Se Young Lee
SEOUL, Nov 14 (Reuters) - South Korea's central bank held interest rates steady for a sixth consecutive month on Thursday, as expected, while monitoring a steady economic recovery as analysts largely expect it to keep policy steady until late next year.
The Bank of Korea's monetary policy committee held its base rate steady at 2.50 percent, a media official said without elaborating. Governor Kim Choong-soo is due to hold a news conference from 11:20 a.m. (0220 GMT).
All 22 analysts surveyed by Reuters before the decision had predicted no change in the rate, while 16 of the 21 analysts who gave forecasts on the next policy move said the central bank would raise rates in late 2014.
"I don't think there is any reason to expect the Bank of Korea's benchmark rate to change from now until the end of the first half of 2014, unless the need for additional stimulus emerges," said Kong Dong-rak, a fixed-income analyst at Hanwha Securities in Seoul.
"South Korea's growth should recover to its potential rate next year, so I think the Bank of Korea will raise rates once in the second half of next year for the sake of rate normalisation."
Markets largely ignored the central bank's decision on Thursday, with the won up 0.5 percent on the day at 1,066.9 per dollar as of 0111 GMT and December futures on 3-year treasury bonds up 0.11 points to 105.72. Seoul shares rose 0.3 percent at 1,969.59 points.
South Korea's fundamentals have steadily improved, with the central bank confident the economy will post an annual growth of 2.8 percent this year and 3.8 percent the next.
Exports in October notched a record, easily beating market expectations and jumping by an annual 7.3 percent. The numbers are likely to pick up as conditions offshore improve.
Also underpinning South Korea's steady growth was a private survey for the manufacturing sector from last month which showed activity in the sector expanded in October for the first time in five months.
Although inflation slipped to a 14-year low in October, annual consumer prices are expected to pick up next year as domestic consumption recovers in line with the economy.
(Editing by Eric Meijer)