UPDATE 5-S.Korea c.bank trims rates, more cuts seen next year


* Base rate cut by 25 bps to 2.75 pct (vs 2.75 pct forecast

* Second rate cut in four months as economy slows

* C.bank slashes 2012-2013 growth, inflation forecasts

* Snap poll shows another cut likely in early 2013

(Adds results of snap poll, updates markets)

By Christine Kim and Se Young Lee

SEOUL, Oct 11 (Reuters) - The Bank of Korea cut interestrates as well as growth forecasts on Thursday, and althoughpredicting a recovery ahead, its cautious view on the economyprompted many analysts to bet on another cut early next year.

Bond prices fell as investors took the widely-expecteddecision as a chance to cash in on recent gains, but losses werecurbed by a broad perception that the global economy would takea while longer to show a major recovery.

The Bank of Korea's monetary policy committee cut its baserate by 25 basis points to 2.75 percent, its secondeasing in four months, taking the rate to its lowest in 19months and just above next year's expected inflation figure.

It now sees Asia's fourth-largest economy growing only 2.4percent this year before picking up to growth of 3.2 percentnext year, compared with the previous forecasts set in July for3.0 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively.

"As global economic growth is unstable and uneven, the Bankof Korea will cut rates in the beginning of next year," said LeeChul-hee, chief economist at Tong Yang Securities, joining sixothers in a Reuters poll late on Thursday in predicting anothercut by early next year.

<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Analysts' comments Graphic Stories on South Korean economy ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> RECOVERY AHEAD, THOUGH MODEST

Governor Kim Choong-soo did not provide any strongindication of BOK policy direction at his news conference, butanalysts said the export-reliant economy would require furthermonetary easing because of weak global economic prospects.

"The committee expects the pace of global economic recoveryto be very modest going forward, and judges the downside risksto growth to be large," the central bank said in its policystatement.

Some analysts suggested there would be no need foradditional policy easing for a some time if the economy at leastshows some recovery, which Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan hassaid would begin during the current quarter, if only at a modestpace.

The yield on the most-liquid three-year treasury bonds

added 3 basis points to end at 2.74 percent, stillbelow the reduced base rate of 2.75 percent.

The won reversed initial losses to end local trade up0.03 percent against the dollar on exporters' unloading ofdollars, but currency traders generally showed a muted reactionto the interest rate decision.

South Korea's economy is heavily reliant on exports butFinance Minister Bahk said recently it probably reached thebottom of its trough in the third quarter.

In the second quarter, private consumption by value was just1.3 percent above the average for last year and capitalinvestment was 0.5 percent less, in real, seasonally-adjusted,terms, indicating limited room for further decline.

The central bank also lowered the interest rate for itsspecial loan programme for smaller firms to 1.25 percent from1.50 percent in line with the lower policy rate.

The BOK decision, which brought the base rate close to nextyear's inflation projection of 2.7 percent, was in line with themedian forecast in a Reuters survey of 24 analysts.

In July, the central bank trimmed the rate by a quarterpoint from 3.25 percent in a surprise move and for the firsttime in more than three years, ending a tightening drive thathad lifted the rate by a total of 125 basis points.

The central bank also set its new inflation target for the2013-2015 period at between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent as theprevious three-year target of 2 percent to 4 percent expires atthe end of this year.

The BOK is the latest authority to join a wave of globalmonetary easing, as central banks look to counter thedebilitating effects of the protracted euro zone fiscal crisis.Brazil's central bank earlier Thursday cut its policy rate by 25basis points to a record low 7.25 percent.

(Additional reporting by Jane Chung, Daum Kim and Ju-min Park;Editing by Choonsik Yoo and Eric Meijer)

((christine.kim@thomsonreuters.com)(822 3704 5665)(ReutersMessaging: christine.kim.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))