With only three meetings left until the end of the year, 14 of 22 analysts who gave end-2021 forecasts see the bank only raising once, while the other eight sees once more.
“The BOK has been concerned about accumulating financial imbalances since May …(therefore) it will make a policy decision with more weight on financial stability than economic fundamentals,” said Woo Hye-young, fixed-income analyst at eBest Investment & Securities.
“Though the economy is under constant pressure from the COVID-19 resurgence, it is seen achieving growth of more than 4% for this year,” Daishin Securities’ economist Kong Dong-rak said, reducing the possibility of a rate freeze.
Bank lending to households grew 9.7 trillion won ($8.32 billion) last month alone, accelerating even after the government began enforcing new caps on bank loans in July.
Meanwhile, Koh Seung-beom, a BOK board member and now the incoming chief at the Financial Services Commission, pledged last week to slow debt growth, saying that household debt management is his top priority.
South Korea has struggled with record coronavirus infections in recent weeks, even under the toughest restrictions imposed in Seoul and neighbouring areas. Only 23.9% of the 52 million population have been fully vaccinated as of Monday midnight.
In the same poll, all 18 analysts who gave end-2022 forecasts see the central bank raising rates next year.
Of those 18, 10 saw the base rate at 1.25% by the end of next year, while seven see it at 1.00%. One sees it at 1.50%.
The central bank will also this week release its revised forecasts for growth and inflation. The latest outlook for GDP and consumer prices are at 4.0% and 1.8%, respectively.
For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.
($1 = 1,166.5000 won)
(Reporting by Joori Roh, Jihoon Lee and Bangalore polling team; Editing by Sam Holmes)