June 19, 2018 / 6:06 AM / 6 months ago

BOK chief says will revisit growth forecasts as U.S.-China spat, job market cloud outlook

FILE PHOTO: Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol speaks during a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea’s central bank governor said on Tuesday he will revisit economic growth forecasts in July as the domestic outlook has become clouded by the U.S.-China trade spat and weak job growth.

“Uncertainties are high, and there are a number of factors to be monitored, so we will thoroughly review domestic economic situation once again, which is to be released in July,” Lee Ju-yeol told reporters in a scheduled press conference in Seoul.

Lee said commercial conflict between the world’s two super powers could have a sizeable impact on Asia’s fourth largest economy, which may warrant the Bank of Korea to revise its current 3 percent growth outlook.

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Monday to levy tariffs on nearly all of China’s shipments to his country after China vowed to implement retaliatory tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. exports to China.

Lee also stressed tepid job growth seen in April and May marked by a significant decline in full-time employment underperforms the bank’s initial forecasts, although he sees the economy to continue its solid, overall growth trajectory.

The dovish comments follow the BOK’s decision at its May meeting to hold its base rate KROCRT=ECI steady at 1.5 percent. The bank’s next interest rate decision will be held on July 12.

South Korea added 72,000 jobs in May from a year earlier, well below the 123,000 jobs created in April over a year earlier and marking the weakest increase in more than 8 years.

Reporting by Cynthia Kim; Editing by Sam Holmes

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