S. Korea keeps interest rate unchanged at 2.75%

South Korea's central bank kept its key interest rate unchanged at 2.75 percent following a cut last month, as Asia's fourth-largest economy showed small signs of recovering from a year-long slump.

The Bank of Korea had cut the rate by 25 basis points in October, the second policy easing in three months aimed at arresting a slowdown in the country's export-driven economy caused by the global downturn.

October exports grew 1.2 percent, after three months of contraction, but Bank of Korea governor Kim Choong-Soo on Friday said it was premature to signal a recovery given the ongoing eurozone crisis.

"The local economy is not likely to further worsen, but it is too early to say the economy is definitely recovering," Kim said.

He also spoke of the need for contingency plans in case the United States -- a key export market -- slips back into recession in the event the US Congress fails to agree on avoiding a so-called fiscal cliff at the end of the year.

South Korea's economy grew 0.2 percent in the third quarter to September from the previous three months -- the slowest pace in nearly three years as the eurozone crisis impacted on investment activity.

The inflation rate accelerated to 2.1 percent in October but remained comfortably within the central bank's 2.0-4.0 percent target range.

Factory output and exports improved marginally despite other aspects of the economy remaining sluggish, including consumption.

Industrial output showed a slight expansion in September from a month before, ending a three-month run of contractions.

Some analysts said the central bank might resume the monetary easing cycle in the first half of next year.

"It is now concerned about the weakening long-term growth trend. It will be inclined to counter it with additional monetary easing early next year," said Samsung Securities analyst Ryan Oh.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this report --

  • Custom faux-tique electric tram aims to replace New York's horses over the neigh-sayers 40 minutes ago
    Custom faux-tique electric tram aims to replace New York's horses over the neigh-sayers

    For the record, it's the year 2014. I mention that in case someone reading this story about a push to replace horses with motorized carriages thinks they've stumbled onto some archival piece by accident. It's been more than 100 years since the first vehicles began to trundle around Manhattan, but the last remaining vestiges of horse-powered transport in the city could be nigh — if the backers of a massive electric wagon get their way.

  • Can home remedies cure jock itch and athlete’s foot? 4 hours ago
    Can home remedies cure jock itch and athlete’s foot?

    Contrary to its name, a ringworm infection is not caused by a worm but by a fungus. It can be contagious and is often characterised by a red circular rash with clearer skin in the middle. Offering tips about what … Continue reading →

  • 2015 Acura TLX blends two sedans into one alphabet soup 5 hours ago
    2015 Acura TLX blends two sedans into one alphabet soup

    Nearly three decades have passed since Honda gave us the car we didn’t know we wanted: a fancified Accord called the Legend, which Honda sold under a newly created luxury brand called Acura. Acura, along with the Lexus and Infiniti brands that followed, proceeded to turn the luxury market on its nose. But since then, everyone from Hyundai to Bentley has stepped up its luxury game while Acura got a bit lost in ubiquity with a cadre of similar-looking products, all with confusing alphabet soup names like ILX, TSX, TL and RLX.

  • ‘Huge’ Hindu, Buddhist statues against Islam, ex-judge says
    ‘Huge’ Hindu, Buddhist statues against Islam, ex-judge says

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — The “huge” statues at a Hindu temple in Batu Caves and Buddhist temple in Penang are an affront to Islam as the religion forbids idolatry, a retired Court of Appeals judge...

  • Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers
    Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers

    Singaporeans on social media reacted angrily to news that tissue sellers at hawker centres and street corners are being required to pay for an annual licence.

  • Over 280 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes
    Over 280 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

    By Narae Kim JINDO South Korea (Reuters) - More than 280 people, many of them students from the same high school, were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea on Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years. It was not immediately clear why the Sewol ferry listed heavily on to its side and capsized in apparently calm conditions off South Korea's southwest coast, but some survivors spoke of a loud noise prior to the disaster.