Bank of Korea Gov. Rhee Chang-yong. (BOK)
Bank of Korea Gov. Rhee Chang-yong on Friday backed a “timely” rate hike to avoid fallout from a belated decision, ahead of a policy board meeting in July, in an address to mark the 72nd anniversary of the bank’s founding.
The central bank has already lifted interest rates three times this year, doing so at every policy meeting except for the one in February -- a decision experts say demonstrates the central bank’s determination to alleviate the increasing burden on consumers.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has said consumer price increases in Korea for this year will hit a 24-year high.
“With inflationary pressures weighing on us for the time being, it is becoming more important for us to remind ourselves of the mission to bring down inflation,” Rhee said.
Korea was quick to start raising the rate last year and it should pick up the pace of tightening as major economies are accelerating their push to normalize policy and raise borrowing costs, Rhee noted.
The bank has raised the rate by 1.25 percentage points in five stages since August last year, from the record low of 0.5 percent to 1.75 percent to cool inflation.
Rhee added that the bank should be quick to make adjustments to policies affecting inflation and growth as Asia’s fourth-largest economy faces growing uncertainties.
As part of efforts to do so, Rhee suggested moving away from a top-down culture at workplaces so as to foster open dialogue and encourage workers to communicate their concerns up the chain of command.
“Don’t pull rank and say what you have to say. Let’s put the manpower to better use,” Rhee said.
By Choi Si-young (firstname.lastname@example.org