A member of the monetary policy committee will chair the rate-setting meeting in case the post of BOK chief remains vacant

SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) — A member of the Bank of Korea (BOK) monetary policy committee may chair an interest rate-setting meeting scheduled for mid-April in case the post of central bank chief would remain vacant, the central bank said on Wednesday.

Last week, Rhee Chang-yong, director of the Asia and Pacific department of the International Monetary Fund, was named head of the BOK as outgoing BOK governor Lee Ju-yeol is expected to step down on Thursday after eight years at the helm.

Concerns are growing that Rhee could leave the chief’s job vacant for weeks and not be able to chair the April 14 rate-setting meeting as he has to go through a parliamentary confirmation hearing, widely seen as a formality. The date for the hearing has not yet been set.

Joo Sang-yeong, one of seven members of the monetary policy committee and a member considered a monetary policy dovish, is set to chair the April meeting as the committee recently chose him as chairman by acting for six months from Friday to September 30, according to the BOK.

Joo will also speak at a press conference to be held right after the meeting, an occasion meant to provide details on the BOK’s monetary policy stance.

It would be the first time that a member of the monetary policy committee has assumed the interim chairmanship of a rate-setting meeting and led a subsequent press conference, a BOK official said.

Market watchers are watching the upcoming rate-setting meeting closely as it comes after the US Federal Reserve recently hiked federal funds rates by a quarter of a percentage point from zero to combat soaring global warming. ‘inflation.

The BOK has raised its key rate three times since August last year, including the 0.25 percentage point hike in January, after keeping borrowing costs at record highs for about two years to cushion the shock of the pandemic. He hinted at further rate hikes in the coming months to contain inflation.

Joo has often expressed minority views in recent rate hike decisions, expressing concerns that steep and rapid increases in borrowing costs could weigh on the economy still under pressure from the pandemic.

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