SEOUL, March 29 A board member of South Korea's
central bank said on Wednesday that stability of the price level
should be at the heart of the bank's policy decisions even if it
meant diverging from U.S. interest rates -- which appear set to
Bank of Korea board member Cho Dong-chul said in doing so,
interest rate decisions should focus on local economic
conditions, and not on the U.S. Federal Reserve's policies.
"There are sufficient grounds to believe that our monetary
policy could proceed in a different manner from the direction
where the United States is going," Cho said, reiterating the
bank's earlier stance that the BOK won't be raising interest
rates just because the U.S. is doing so.
Choi's comments come as policymakers debate whether an
easing cycle that began in 2012 should end as the Federal
Reserve is set on a course of monetary tightening.
Currently, the prevailing dominant view among analysts is
that the BOK will remain in wait-and-see mode amid uncertainties
including the upcoming South Korean presidential election and
increases in U.S. interest rates.
The BOK last lowered its policy rate in June
2016 and has kept it at 1.25 percent since then.
Its inflation target is 2 percent, while the benchmark
consumer price index was at 1.9 percent in February.
(Reporting by Cynthia Kim; Editing by Eric Meijer)