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BOK to hold monetary policy meetings online if distancing hits Level 3

Bank of Korea Gov. Lee Ju-yeol (Bank of Korea)
Bank of Korea Gov. Lee Ju-yeol (Bank of Korea)


In continued efforts to combat the prolonged coronavirus outbreak, the Bank of Korea will reportedly operate its own video conferencing platform in mid-September and hold its monetary policy board meetings online if the current anti-virus steps are raised to the highest Level 3, officials said Monday. 

“The BOK has decided to implement its own video conferencing system in all regional headquarters as early as in the middle of this month after completing system optimization process and related employee training,” an official said. 

The central bank has installed plastic partitions on desks in the monetary policy board conference room in response to the government’s 2.5-tier social distancing restrictions currently placed over the Seoul metropolitan area, but it would be difficult to continue such face-to-face meetings if the tightened Level 3 measures are put in place, which require remote working, he said.

The BOK embarked on developing its own video conference system last year instead of using remote communication tools in the market due to security concerns. 

Meanwhile, central banks in major economies have already made interest rate decisions through video conferencing. The US Federal Reserve, for instance, announced an emergency rate cut by 50 basis points in March via its online channel. Even the Jackson Hole meeting, the annual symposium on the Fed’s monetary policy framework, was moved online last month for the first time since 1987. 

Composed of seven members including the governor and the senior deputy governor, the monetary policy board is the BOK’s policy-making body that decides on the country’s key interest rates eight times a year, discussing consumer price trends and economic conditions. Its regular meetings take place on the Thursdays of the second and fourth weeks of each month.

By Choi Jae-hee (cjh@heraldcorp.com)
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