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Bank of Korea Keeps Rates Unchanged, Asian ETFs Trade Positive

David Meyer - Author

Aug. 15 2016, Updated 9:05 a.m. ET

Bank of Korea keeps rates unchanged at 1.3%

South Korea’s monetary policy committee kept the benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 1.3%—in line with expectations. The Bank of Korea’s governor, Lee Ju-yeol, stated that the base rate can’t be slashed to zero since the central bank requires enough space to support corporate restructuring initiatives for South Korea’s large-scale shipping industry. Currently, the inflation rate stands at 0.7%, while the Korean economy grew by 0.7% on an annual basis in 2Q16. Modest growth is expected going forward, while inflation levels are expected to remain low. The iShares MSCI South Korea Capped (EWY) rose by 0.75% on August 11, 2016, at 3:30 PM EST. On the other hand, the South Korean banking ADRs (American depositary receipts) KB Financial Group (KB) and Shinhan Financial Group (SHG) rose by 0.60% and 0.89%, respectively.

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Singapore’s GDP rose 2.1%

Singapore’s GDP rose by 2.1% on an annual basis in 2Q16—in line with the previous quarter’s growth of 2.1% and slightly lower than expectations of 2.2%.

On a quarterly basis, Singapore’s economy grew by 0.3%—below estimated forecasts of 0.8% and higher than 0.1% growth seen in the previous quarter. This increase in economic growth was fostered by a recovery in the manufacturing sector. It was partially offset by slow growth in the services and construction sectors. The iShares MSCI Singapore ETF (EWS) rose by 0.64% on August 11, 2016, at 3:30 PM EST.

Industrial production and retail sales rose in Malaysia

The industrial production in Malaysia rose by 5.3% on an annual basis in June—compared to 2.7% in the previous month and above forecasts of 2.8%. The recorded growth was at the fastest pace since July 2015—driven by solid growth in the mining, manufacturing, and electricity segments. On a monthly basis, industrial production in Malaysia rose by 0.9%—compared to an 0.8% decline in the previous month. Recently, inflation levels in Malaysia eased to 1.6%. To learn more, read Inflation Levels in Malaysia Ease, Taiwanese Export Orders Drop.

Retail sales in Malaysia rose by 5.4% on an annual basis in 2Q16—compared to 5.5% in the previous quarter. The unemployment rate continued to remain at 3.4% in June—in line with previous releases. The iShares MSCI Malaysia (EWM) rose by 1.2% on August 11, 2016, at 3:30 PM EST.


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