Kim Dong-yeon and Lee Ju-yeol
South Korean deputy prime minister and finance minister Kim Dong-yeon and Lee Ju-yeol, Bank of Korea Governor who made a rare case in the Korean central bank history by earning a second term, on Monday vowed synchronized fiscal and monetary responses to offset negative effects on the export-reliant economy from global trade protectionism.
The lunch meeting took place after President Moon Jae-in on Friday reappointed Lee whose four-year term ends in March. Under the Bank of Korea law, the governor can serve up to two terms. But there had been only two precedents and none since the BOK governor chaired the monetary policy committee from 1998.
“I feel more responsible than happy by the appointment, given the serious and complex conditions at home and abroad,” Lee said after the announcement.
The last Feb. 27 policy meeting chaired by Lee before his term ended kept the benchmark rate unchanged at 1.50 percent. Korean interest rates would hover below U.S. rates if the Federal Reserve raises the fed fund rate target as largely expected this month.
Lee who had implemented just one hike during his term must navigate well against rising U.S. interests as the domestic recovery is much fragile and uncertain than the pace in the U.S. economy. Colossal household debt also could spill over to cause broader financial risk if rate increases come too fast.
Born in Wonju, Gangwon Province, Lee, 66, earned a Bachelor’s degree in business administration at Yonsei University after graduating from Daesung High School. He received a Master’s degree in economics from Pennsylvania State University. Lee joined the Bank of Korea in 1977 and served as senior deputy governor and deputy governor before being appointed as governor in 2014.
By Sohn Il-seon and Lee Eun-joo
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