Juyeol Lee: New Year Speech

New Year's address by Mr Juyeol Lee, Governor of the Bank of Korea, at the Bank of Korea, Seoul, 2 January 2020.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
08 January 2020

Dear fellow members of the Bank of Korea!

Today we start our first tasks of 2020, filled with new hope and resolve. I would like to begin by expressing my heartfelt gratitude to all of you, for so faithfully carrying out your duties throughout the past year.

Our economy faced many difficulties last year, due to a deterioration in external conditions. Global trade contracted, affected by the trade tensions between the US and China, while exports of semiconductors, the major engine of Korea's economic growth, also declined significantly. In line with developments in external uncertainties, we saw frequent escalations of volatility in our financial and foreign exchange markets, and weakening economic sentiment. As a result, the Korean economy grew at around 2% last year, the lowest level seen since the global financial crisis. The inflation rate remained low in the 0% range, held down by supply-side factors and the government's strengthened social-welfare policy amid weak demand-side inflationary pressure.