TOKYO - As US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell rocks and roils global markets, he may have an unlikely but pivotal ally in Seoul.
Markets everywhere are still quaking over Powell’s August 26 speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he warned that higher interest rates will cause “some pain” and that the Fed’s tightening cycle may persist “for some time."
Yet Bank of Korea Governor Rhee Chang-yong seems less shaken than most. That’s an intriguing crouch given how the Fed’s last big rate-hike campaign in 1994 and 1995 devastated South Korea’s economy, along with those of Indonesia and Thailand.
But Korea’s economy has changed radically since the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis. And more recently, the BOK has accepted inflationary realities and utilized its brake pedal well before the Fed decided to act.