South Korea's central bank held its main interest rate steady at a record low on Thursday as expected, just days before the U.S. Federal Reserve decides whether to pull the trigger on a much-anticipated policy tightening.
The Bank of Korea's monetary policy committee held its base rate steady at 1.50 percent for a sixth straight month, as all 31 analysts surveyed in a Reuters poll had expected.
Governor Lee Ju-yeol declined to publicly take a view on domestic interest rates at a scheduled news conference, and instead focused on downside risks facing the economy, among them falling oil prices and overall global sluggishness, but offering no major change from previous statements.
"There was nothing surprising from Lee's press conference. He didn't mention anything about lower rates, and his comments were viewed as neutral," said Kathleen Oh, economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Seoul.
Oh forecast that rates would be kept on hold through 2017. "I think Lee was just cementing his previous stance ahead of the Fed," she said.