South Korea’s central bank hikes key rate from record low

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s central bank said Thursday that it has raised interest rates from a record low in its first such hike since June 2011.

Bank of Korea’s seven policymakers decided to increase the key rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 1.50 percent at its November meeting.

Borrowing rates have steadily fallen during the past five years to a record low of 1.25 percent and stayed at that level since June 2016 so as to help South Korea’s fragile economic recovery.

Thursday’s decision was widely expected after third-quarter economic growth beat expectations.

Asia’s fourth-largest economy is expected to post its fastest growth in three years in 2017, buoyed by surprisingly strong exports thanks to robust global demand for memory chips.

The South Korean won has gained ground against major currencies in the past month in anticipation of the rate hike, which will increase returns for investors.


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