South Korea's central bank kept its key interest rate unchanged at 2.75 percent for a third straight month Friday, despite some mixed signals on the strength of the slowing domestic economy.
The Bank Of Korea's (BOK) decision to freeze the benchmark seven-day repo rate, following cuts in July and October, was in line with most analysts' expectations.
South Korea's industrial production accelerated sharply in November to post a third consecutive monthly rise, while its current account surplus rose to a record high.
At the same time, however, exports shrank 5.5 percent in December from a year earlier.
Analysts say Asia's fourth largest economy likely bottomed out in the third quarter of last year and has been improving since the fourth quarter, helped by government stimulus and signs of a nascent recovery in China, South Korea's largest export destination.
The BOK decision came a day after the European Central Bank held its key interest rates steady amid signs that the debt crisis in the eurozone -- another key Korean export market -- was stabilising.
"Current economic conditions are not weak enough to warrant a rate cut this month as the global economy shows some signs of stabilising," said Lee Sang-jae, a senior economist at Hyundai Securities Co.