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[1/2] South Korea's new central bank governor Rhee Chang-yong speaks during his inauguration ceremony in Seoul, South Korea April 21, 2022. But he added that South Korean interest rates should not get too far below those of the United States, because of the risk of capital outflow. With the policy rate now at 3.25%, Rhee hopes it will not have to go much higher. It is the first time that the central bank governor has specified a level around which he hopes rates will peak. The Fed's policy rate is currently 3.75% to 4.00%.
SEOUL, Nov 30 (Reuters) - South Korea's central bank is ready to readjust the pace of its policy tightening to respond to an economic slowdown and a slumping property market, the bank's governor told the Reuters NEXT conference on Wednesday. But Rhee Chang-yong declined to say whether the Bank of Korea would stop raising interest rates before the U.S. Federal Reserve, though he added that it was now better able to take into account domestic factors than before. The Bank of Korea, which was among the first central banks of major economies to start raising rates in August last year, has lifted the benchmark rate by a total of 275 basis points from a record low figure of 0.5%. Reporting by Cynthia Kim, Choonsik Yoo and Jihoon Lee; Editing by Clarence FernandezOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
SEOUL, Nov 29 (Reuters) - South Korea's government and the central bank should pay greater attention to addressing any financial instability as the economy is headed for slower inflation, President Yoon Suk-yeol told Reuters. "There are increasing opinions that inflation has passed its peak and it's time to slow down the speed and reduce the breadth of the rate hikes. However we must still continue to closely monitor any possible financial instability," Yoon said during a broader interview in his office on Monday, when asked if it is time for the Bank of Korea to slow monetary tightening. Yoon's comments come as the BOK last week signalled that it could be nearing the end of an unprecedented streak of policy tightening in Asia’s fourth-largest economy to curb inflation. Writing by Cynthia Kim; Editing by Himani Sarkar & Shri NavaratnamOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
SEOUL, Nov 29 (Reuters) - South Korea's government and the central bank should pay greater attention to addressing any financial instability, President Yoon Suk-yeol told Reuters, as the money market grapples with a steep selloff amid rising interest rates and a property slump. Yoon's comments come as the BOK last week signalled that it could be nearing the end of an unprecedented streak of policy tightening in Asia’s fourth-largest economy to curb inflation. South Korea's money market, especially at the short-end of the bill curve, has experienced one of the worst routs in Asia as investors sold-off in the wake of rising interest rates and a broader property market downturn. South Korea's household debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 102.2% in the second quarter, the highest level among 35 major economies tracked by the Institute of International Finance. The BOK's monetary policy committee unanimously agreed to hike interest rates by a quarter-percentage point to 3.25% at its Nov. 24 review - taking the benchmark rate to its highest since 2012.
FRANKFURT, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Risks in the German financial system are building as the economy heads for a recession and struggles with rising interest rates and sky-high energy prices, but a correction in the housing market is not imminent, the Bundesbank said on Thursday. "The macro-financial environment has deteriorated substantially," the Bundesbank said in a Financial Stability Review. Still, the Bundesbank did not expect a significant correction in house prices, which were in the past seen 15% to 40% overvalued. "A worsening energy crisis, a sharp economic slump and abruptly rising market interest rates could put the German financial system under considerable pressure," the bank added. Extreme volatility in energy prices sharply increased the collateral requirements of central counterparties in derivatives trading but government measures cushioned the liquidity shortage and the overall supply of credit "has worked well", it said.
"The economy is picking up moderately," the government said on Thursday, using the same description it has in every monthly report since July. The government would stay vigilant to the risks ahead, saying the global slowdown from monetary tightening could hurt Japan's economy. Tokyo also kept its view unchanged on private consumption, which accounts for more than half of Japan's economy, saying it was "picking up moderately". The report said spending on services such as restaurant dining and accommodations was recovering, although rising prices were weighing on consumer sentiment. The government left its view unchanged that capital spending was recovering thanks to solid corporate earnings, while it said exports and imports were "almost flat".
The eagerly awaited readout of the Nov. 1-2 Fed meeting showed officials were largely satisfied they could now move in smaller steps. The dollar index , which measures the greenback against six major peers, was down 0.14% at 105.75, after sliding 1% overnight. The minutes also showed an emerging debate within the Fed over the risks that rapid policy tightening could pose to economic growth and financial stability. Rising coronavirus cases have led Chinese cities to impose more curbs, increasing investor worries about the economy and putting a lid on risk appetite. The Australian dollar rose 0.25% to $0.675, while the kiwi was 0.17% higher at $0.6255.
The eagerly awaited readout of the Nov. 1-2 Fed meeting showed officials were largely satisfied they could now move in smaller steps. The dollar index , which measures the greenback against six major peers, was down 0.066% at 105.830, after sliding 1% overnight. The minutes also showed an emerging debate within the Fed over the risks that rapid policy tightening could pose to economic growth and financial stability. The Australian dollar rose 0.25% versus the greenback at $0.675, while the kiwi was 0.26% higher at $0.625. The Japanese yen strengthened 0.54% versus the greenback to 138.84 per dollar.
For months, President Nicolas Maduro's administration has sought to fight inflation by anchoring the bolivar's exchange rate. It has increased the supply of foreign currency cash in local banks and limited the expansion of credit and public spending. The local currency has depreciated 17% since October, and 55% so far this year. Both economists said the government may be fine with letting the exchange rate slide a little more, if it allows them to spend again. The central bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Bank of Korea (BOK) raised its benchmark policy rate (KROCRT=ECI) to 3.25% on Thursday, the highest level since 2012, after delivering a half-percentage point hike in October. The BOK is in the midst of its most aggressive policy tightening on record, having been a front-runner in withdrawing pandemic-era stimulus in the region when it started raising interest rates in August 2021. Since then, it has raised rates by a total of 275 basis points, delivering bigger 50-basis-point rate hikes for the first time since the current monetary framework was introduced in 1999. The central bank aims to keep inflation at 2%. The slowdown in the tightening pace has also been facilitated by a rebound in the local currency.
SEOUL, Nov 24 (Reuters) - South Korea's central bank raised interest rates by a more modest 25 basis points on Thursday, as expected, slowing the pace of policy tightening as it tries to tame inflation without choking off economic growth. The Bank of Korea (BOK) raised its benchmark policy rate (KROCRT=ECI) to 3.25%, the highest level since July 2012, after delivering a half-percentage point hike in October. All but one of 30 economists expected the central bank to opt for a quarter-point hike in a Reuters poll, while one forecast another half-point rise. The Bank of Korea has raised the policy rate by a total of 275 basis points since August 2021 from a record low of 0.50%. Reporting by Cynthia Kim, Jihoon Lee and Choonsik Yoo; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da CostaOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
TOKYO, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Japan's manufacturing activity contracted at the fastest pace in two years in November as demand worsened due to strong inflationary pressures, a business survey showed on Thursday. The au Jibun Bank Flash Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) slipped to a seasonally adjusted 49.4 in November from a final reading of 50.7 in the previous month. Output contracted at the quickest pace in 26 months, falling for the fifth consecutive month, the survey results showed. Activity in the services sector stagnated even as new business inflows grew for a third straight month, the data showed. The au Jibun Bank Flash Services PMI Index came in at a seasonally adjusted 50.0 in November, down from the previous month's 53.2 final, the survey showed.
Meanwhile, the downturn in euro zone business activity eased slightly in November, offering a glimmer of hope the expected recession there may be shallower than feared, but consumers still cut spending amid a cost of living crisis. However, November is the fifth month the index has been below the 50 mark separating growth from contraction. But in France activity contracted for the first time since February 2021 as lower new orders weighed on the euro zone's second-biggest economy. Activity in the bloc's dominant services industry declined again, with the headline index matching October's 20-month low of 48.6. Manufacturing activity, particularly hard hit by soaring energy prices and disrupted supply chains, also declined but at a slower pace.
SEOUL, Nov 16 (Reuters) - South Korea's housing prices fell at the sharpest rate in at least 19 years in October, adding to expectations the nation's central bank will slow its pace of interest rate hikes in the coming weeks. In the capital Seoul, apartment prices declined 1.24%, the fastest since December 2008, extending losses to a ninth straight month. The national index for apartment transaction prices dropped 7.13% during the January-September period, on track for the biggest annual decline since that data was introduced in 2006. Analysts expect only one or two more interest rate hikes by the Bank of Korea for the remainder of this year and 2023 to take the terminal rate to 3.25% or 3.50%. South Korea's household debt-to-GDP ratios stood at 102.2% in the second quarter, data of 35 major economies from the Institute of International Finance showed.
SEOUL, Nov 5 (Reuters) - North Korea fired four short-range ballistic missiles into the western sea on Saturday, South Korea's military said, as Seoul and Washington ended a high-profile six-day military exercise. South Korea said it scrambled warplanes in response to 180 North Korean military flights near the countries' shared border on Friday. On Wednesday, North Korea fired a daily record 23 missiles, with one landing off the coast of South Korea for the first time, after Pyongyang threatened to take powerful measures unless Washington halts allied air exercises with South Korea. In recent years the Security Council has been split on how to deal with North Korea. In May China and Russia vetoed a U.S. attempt to impose more U.N. sanctions in response to North Korean missile launches.
SEOUL, Nov 5 (Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force plans to deploy B-1B strategic bombers in U.S.-South Korea military exercises on Saturday, Yonhap News reported, after North Korea fired a barrage of weapons tests in recent days to protest allied military drills. This is the first the B-1B has been deployed in U.S.-South Korean drills since 2017, Yonhap said. The United States has kept four of the bombers in Guam since late October, according to the news agency. South Korea has asked the United States to step up deployment of “strategic assets”, which include aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, and long-range bombers like the B-1B. After talks with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Washington on Thursday, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup said the United States had agreed to employ “U.S.
SEOUL, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Two South Korean miners who were trapped inside a collapsed zinc mine in the country's northeastern county of Bonghwa walked out alive after nine days late on Friday as the nation mourned a deadly Halloween tragedy, officials said on Saturday. Local fire authorities said the two miners walked out of the underground mine that had collapsed after a landslide on Oct. 26, through rescue efforts that focused on drilling a hole. The two survived by consuming instant, sweetened coffee powder and pitched a tent with plastics inside the collapsed mine to keep themselves warm, local Yonhap News reported citing rescuers. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol declared a week-long mourning period through Nov. 5 after 156 people killed in a crowd crush in Seoul during Halloween festivities. Reporting by Cynthia Kim; Editing by David GregorioOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
SEOUL, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Across South Korea, events such as autumn foliage festivals and K-Pop concerts are canceled, and grief-stricken communities are putting off gatherings after a Seoul crowd crush killed at least 154 people, threatening to crimp growth further. Universities have canceled weekend retreats known as MTs, and the opening event of the two-week Korea Sale Festa, the Korean version of the Black Friday, was called off. South Korea's southern resort island of Jeju called off the Jeju Olle Walking Festival, scheduled from Nov 3 to 5. The Korea Baseball Organization and Korea Volleyball Federation both said there won't be cheerleaders during its championship series. South Korea's economic growth already decelerated last quarter in response to slowing exports and a weakening currency.
SEOUL, Oct 16 (Reuters) - South Korea's finance minister said the government will scrap taxes on foreigners' income from investments in treasury bonds and monetary stabilization bonds from Monday. Speaking to reporters late on Saturday in the United States after a meeting of Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers, Choo Kyung-ho said the government decided to bring forward the timing of the planned tax removal from 2023 to next week to boost capital inflows into the local bond market. FTSE Russell, a global index provider, said on Sept. 30 it had added South Korea to a list for possible inclusion in its World Government Bond Index (WGBI). "We were included in the WGBI watchlist at the end of September but were thinking there is a need to make a quick move to attract more foreign investment into our treasury bond market," Choo said. Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com RegisterReporting by Cynthia Kim; Editing by William MallardOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Joo and Shin voted for a smaller hike in the rate, Rhee said in news conference, but did not elaborate on their views. Twenty-three of 26 analysts expected the bank to go for a half-point hike in a Reuters poll, while the remaining three expected a quarter-point hike. The median forecast in the poll showed the BOK's base rate going to 3.25% by year-end and then peaking at 3.50% in the first quarter of 2023. Almost half of respondents in the Reuters poll expected the base rate to reaching 3.75% in the first quarter of next year. After Wednesday's rate hike, the Korea Federation of Small- to Medium-sized Enterprises expressed "serious concern" about higher rates.
The Bank of Korea (BOK) raised its benchmark policy rate (KROCRT=ECI) by 50 basis points to 3.00% on Wednesday, bringing total rates hike since August last year to 250 basis points. Twenty-three of 26 analysts expected the bank to go for a half-point hike in a Reuters poll, while the remaining three expected a quarter-point hike. "The 50 bp hike today was the BOK's response to the sinking won, it seems." South Korea's three-year treasury bond futures fell after the BOK's statement on the decision. The median forecast in the poll showed the BOK's base rate going to 3.25% by year-end and then peaking at 3.50% in the first quarter of 2023.
North Korea fired two ballistic missiles early on Sunday, officials in Seoul and Tokyo said, the seventh such launch since Sept. 25. Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com RegisterThe tests simulated striking military command facilities, main ports, and airports in the South, KCNA added. The naval forces of South Korea, Japan and the United States also conducted joint drills before that. South Korean and U.S. officials say there are signs North Korea could soon detonate a new nuclear device in underground tunnels at its Punggye-ri Nuclear Test site, which was officially shuttered in 2018. NEW MISSILE, UNDERWATER SILOSOn Oct. 4, the North test-fired a ballistic missile farther than ever before, flying what it said was a new intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) missile over Japan for the first time since 2017.
S.Korean won falls through key level after Fed hike
  + stars: | 2022-09-21 | by ( Choonsik Yoo | ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +2 min
A South Korea won note is seen in this illustration photo May 31, 2017. The won fell as much as 0.9% to 1,406.8 per dollar in early onshore trading, marking the first time it crossed the 1,400-won mark since late March 2009. Both the finance ministry and the central bank separately issued warnings that they would act against excessive movements in the foreign exchange market. "The authorities will introduce various measures aimed at easing a supply-demand imbalance for foreign currencies from the pension fund and foreign trading companies," Minister Choo Kyung-ho said at a meeting of senior officials. Both the Bank of Korea and the National Pension Service declined to comment on the reports.
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