SEOUL, June 12 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's top central banker on Wednesday hinted at a possible rate cut citing the global trade dispute and the worsening of business cycle in the global semiconductor industry.
Bank of Korea (BOK) Governor Lee Ju-yeol said in his speech marking the 69th anniversary of the BOK's foundation that external uncertainties were heightened recently on global trade dispute and the downturn in business cycle of the global chip industry.
Lee noted that the BOK would appropriately deal with the changes in economic situations while closely monitoring the development of and the influence from the external uncertainties.
It was different from a stance that the top central banker took during the press conference, held after freezing the benchmark interest rate at 1.75 percent on May 31.
Lee told reporters last month that the 25-basis-point rate cut claim from one of the seven members of the monetary policy board did not necessarily signal a future rate cut.
The May rate freeze decision was made with one dissenting vote from the monetary policy board.
Lee said in his speech earlier in the day that the possibility got higher for global trade to weaken amid the deepening of the global trade dispute, while the possibility remained for the recovery of the global chip business to be delayed.
Concerns recently deepened over the export-driven South Korean economy, which saw its export continue to decline for six straight months through May.
Affected by the weak export, the country's real gross domestic product (GDP), adjusted for inflation, contracted 0.4 percent in the first quarter from three months earlier.
The BOK's next rate-setting meeting was scheduled for July 18. After the meeting, the bank was slated to unveil its revised growth outlook for the economy, which was set at 2.5 percent for this year.