SEOUL, March 16 (Yonhap) — Members of the Bank of Korea’s (BOK) monetary policy board saw growing worries over inflation, but they said it was too early to discuss normalization of monetary policy, minutes from their latest meeting showed Tuesday.
In the last rate-setting meeting on Feb. 25, the seven-member board unanimously voted to keep the policy rate at a record low of 0.5 percent to support an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the minutes, some board members suggested that the BOK needs to bolster its bond purchase to stabilize bond markets.
“It is too early to talk about normalization of monetary policy due to upward pressures on prices and a further rise in asset prices,” a board member said in the February meeting.
The financial market has shown signs of stabilization, but the BOK must cope with potential risks, board members said.
Another board member said the BOK must keep its easing of monetary policy because of higher uncertainties over a resurgence of the new coronavirus and a fragile economic recovery.
A third member said the BOK needs to make efforts to calm market volatility from rising U.S. bond yields.
South Korea’s economy shrank 1 percent on year in 2020, marking the worst performance in over two decades, but it appears to have gotten back on a growth track on the back of a mild recovery in exports.
The figure marked the worst on-year growth since 1998, when the nation’s economy contracted 5.1 percent in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis.
However, it was slightly better than the BOK’s projection of a 1.1 percent contraction for last year.
In the fourth quarter of last year, the nation’s economy grew 1.1 percent, marking an expansion for the second straight quarter.