SEOUL, Jan. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's economy is expected to experience a modest recovery this year, helped by the easing of trade tensions between the United States and China and rising global demand, the country's central bank chief said Thursday.
"I anticipate that growth and inflation could rebound this year, compared with last year," Bank of Korea (BOK) Gov. Lee Ju-yeol told reporters, while adding that a sharp increase is unlikely due to global economic uncertainties.
Hit by a lengthy U.S.-China trade war and a cyclical slump in the memory chip sector, Asia's fourth-largest economy is poised to report its weakest annual growth in a decade last year.
The economy is expected to grow 2.4 percent this year, following last year's estimated 2 percent expansion, on the back of an anticipated recovery in the memory chip sector and a series of policy measures.
Although global growth is expected to improve at a moderate pace, there still remain uncertainties regarding the persistence of trade protectionism and geopolitical risks, Lee said.
Asked whether the economy could meet the growth target, Lee replied that, "It is difficult to gauge because indices in December last year are important."
The BOK slashed the policy rate twice last year -- from 1.75 percent to 1.50 percent in July and to 1.25 percent October, matching the all-time low that was previously seen in 2016.
Many analysts have expected the BOK to further cut the rate this year.
Lee also repeated that the BOK's monetary policy for this year will remain accommodative. The BOK will maintain its accommodative monetary policy stance, while judging whether to adjust the degree of monetary policy accommodation in overall consideration of developments in macroeconomic and financial stability conditions, Lee said.
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