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Most bond experts eye rate freeze in Oct.: poll

Economy 10:45 October 07, 2021

SEOUL, Oct. 7 (Yonhap) -- Nearly nine in 10 bond mavens in South Korea predict the central bank to freeze its key interest for October due mainly to volatile external conditions, a poll showed Thursday.

According to the survey of 200 bond experts by the Korea Financial Investment Association, 87 percent of the 100 respondents forecast the Bank of Korea (BOK) to hold its policy rate steady at a rate-setting meeting slated for next week.

The number of standpatters was up from 67 in August. In contrast, 13 bond experts, down from 33 in August, projected a rate hike.

"Most experts expect a rate freeze amid uncertain external situations, including U.S. debt ceiling talks, and a market attitude to watch the effect of an August rate hike," the association said.

In this file photo, Bank of Korea (BOK) Gov. Lee Ju-yeol speaks at a news conference after a monthly rate-setting meeting at the BOK building in Seoul on July 15, 2021. (Yonhap)

In late August, the BOK raised its benchmark policy rate by 0.25 percentage point to 0.75 percent, the first pandemic-era rate hike, to combat rising inflation and rein in surging household debts.

The rate increase followed a July rate freeze and came as the nation was battling against its worst-ever COVID-19 outbreak with daily new infections remaining above 1,000 for more than 50 days.

The survey also showed 50 of the respondents forecasting local bond yields to remain unchanged in October, with 42 and eight predicting increases and drops, respectively.

The association also said its bond market survey index (BMSI) stood at 93.5 for October, down from 87.3 for September. A BMSI reading below 100 means more experts expect bond market conditions to worsen.
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