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BOK trims rate to record low of 0.75 pct to support economy amid virus outbreak

All News 16:49 March 16, 2020

SEOUL, March 16 (Yonhap) -- The Bank of Korea (BOK) delivered an unexpected rate cut to a record low on Monday to help buffer economic fallout from the new coronavirus outbreak, hours after the U.S. Federal Reserve slashed the key rate to a zero level.

In a hastily organized rate-setting meeting, the BOK slashed the key rate by a half percentage point to 0.75 percent.

The BOK's emergency rate cut marked the first of its kind in over 10 years.

South Korea's key rate had been kept at 1.25 percent since October.

The BOK had been reluctant to cut the rate at its latest rate-setting meeting held Feb. 27, more than a month after Seoul reported its confirmed case of COVID-19.

The bank insisted the fallout from the virus, despite being very serious and damaging, required industry or business-specific support measures, instead of a monetary policy shift.

Monday's emergency rate cut follows the second emergency rate cut by the U.S. Fed in less than two weeks.

The Fed slashed its own rate by 100 basis points on Sunday (U.S. time) to a target range of 0 percent and 0.25 percent.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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