SEOUL, March 16 (Reuters) - South Korea’s central bank on Monday took the emergency step of cutting the benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points in a rare inter-meeting rate review, taking the policy rate below 1% for the first time ever to limit the fallout from the coronavirus, followed by moves from other global central banks.
The following is a full text of the Bank of Korea’s statement:
“The Monetary Policy Board of the Bank of Korea decided today to lower the Base Rate by 50 basis points, from 1.25% to 0.75%, effective March 17, 2020.
“Since the last Monetary Policy Board meeting, concerns about global economic slowdown have deepened with COVID-19 spreading globally. The spread of the outbreak has also resulted in a significant increase in the volatility of major price variables, including stock prices and exchange rates, in domestic and global financial markets and a sharp fall in international oil prices. The Board, therefore, judged that further monetary policy accommodation is called for in order to ease volatility in the financial markets and reduce the effects on future economic growth and inflation.
“Considering the high level of uncertainties regarding financial and economic conditions at home and abroad, the Board will maintain its accommodative monetary policy stance going forward so as to reduce the downside risks to the real economy and ease volatility in the financial markets.” (Reporting by Joori Roh; editing by Larry King)