• SKorea leaves interest rate unchanged at record low

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    SEOUL: South Korea’s central bank on Thursday left its key interest rate unchanged at a record-low 1.5 percent, despite few indications that a looser monetary policy is boosting economic growth.

    The decision by the Bank of Korea was widely expected, following a cut of 0.25 basis points in June.

    The BOK has instituted four cuts in the past 12 months, totaling a full percentage point.

    But Asia’s fourth-largest economy has shown little sign of improvement, with growth in the second quarter slowing to just 0.3 percent—partly due to an outbreak of the MERS virus that stifled consumer spending.

    In July, the bank cut its 2015 economic growth forecast for the third time this year to 2.8 percent, citing sluggish exports and weak domestic consumption.

    Analysts said the bank was also waiting to gauge the impact of China’s surprise currency devaluation this week, which could hurt Korean exporters’ price competitiveness. AFP

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