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[Newsmaker] BOK holds first press briefing via YouTube amid coronavirus fears

Bank of Korea Gov. Lee Ju-yeol answers questions from reporters during the central bank’s first press conference to be livestreamed via YouTube on Thursday. (Yonhap)
Bank of Korea Gov. Lee Ju-yeol answers questions from reporters during the central bank’s first press conference to be livestreamed via YouTube on Thursday. (Yonhap)

The Bank of Korea held a press conference on its rate decision via YouTube on Thursday, in a first for the central bank.

The conference was held online as part of the central bank’s efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus and ensure the safety of its officials and reporters, a BOK official said.

Following the announcement of its decision to keep its interest rates unchanged at 1.25 percent, BOK Gov. Lee Ju-yeol answered questions from reporters in the livestream on YouTube.

The rate decision, usually announced offline at the BOK headquarters in central Seoul, was conveyed via email and text message as well.

Questions from reporters were compiled beforehand, and only a representative of the press was allowed to be present at the conference at the BOK headquarters in central Seoul.

Other central banks, including the European Central Bank, have livestreamed press conferences before. The BOK did not arrange an online conference during the outbreak of the Middle East respiratory syndrome here in 2015.

The central bank’s decision defies several experts’ projections that the BOK would cut its rate to a historic low of 1 percent, pressured by the number of coronavirus cases snowballing to more than 1,500 as of early Thursday.

By Jung Min-kyung (mkjung@heraldcorp.com)
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