South Korea's central bank kept interest rates unchanged for a ninth straight month on Thursday, on par with market expectations, opting instead to monitor the global economy and monetary policy meetings in advanced economies.
The Bank of Korea's monetary policy committee held its base rate at record-low 1.5 percent, a media official said without elaborating.
Twenty-two of 33 analysts polled by Reuters before the decision forecast the central bank would hold rates on Thursday while the remainder projected a cut. However, 13 of those who saw a hold forecast the bank would cut rates in April or later this year.
"I expect the base rate to be kept unchanged. Economic and consumer sentiment indices fell early this year, but recently, we are seeing a rise in oil prices, which means the macro environment has changed," said Lee Jae-hyung, an economist at Yuanta Securities Korea.
"Unless the economic flow withers too much, I don't think there is much reason to lower the base rate."