Governor Lee Ju-yeol of the Bank of Korea (BOK) said the central bank cut its growth forecast for this year mainly because of lower-than-expected GDP (gross domestic product) growth for the fourth quarter of last year. Lee made the remarks after presiding over a meeting of the BOK's Monetary Policy Committee which left the benchmark interest rate for April unchanged at 1.75 percent.
The country's GDP grew 0.3 percent in the October-December period, 0.1 percentage point lower than an earlier estimate, BOK officials said.
The central bank also cut its inflation forecast for 2015 to 0.9 percent from 1.9 percent, saying that oil prices are expected to fall more steeply than its forecast and the consumer inflation rate for the first quarter was lower than its earlier projection.
According to the nation's statistical office, consumer prices grew 0.4 percent in March from a year earlier, after a 0.5 percent on-year gain in February. The 0.4 percent hike marks the lowest since a 0.3 percent on-year growth recorded in July 1999.
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