Tue, 18 Jan 2022

SEOUL -- South Korea's central bank on Thursday raised the benchmark interest rate from 0.75 percent to 1 percent.

Bank of Korea (BOK) Governor Lee Ju-yeol and monetary policy board members decided to increase the seven-day repurchase rate by 25 basis points to 1 percent.

It followed the policy rate hike in August from a record low of 0.50 percent to 0.75 percent. (South Korea-Interest rate hike)

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WELLINGTON -- The monthly value of goods imports in October 2021 rose 26 percent from October 2020 to 6.6 billion NZ dollars (4.54 billion U.S. dollars), New Zealand's statistics department Stats NZ said on Thursday.

There were increases in imports from all of New Zealand's top trading partners, with China making up 27 percent of the total rise, Stats NZ said.

This increase was led by rises in mechanical machinery and equipment, such as turbo jets and laptops, and vehicles, parts, and accessories, it said. (New Zealand-Trade)

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SEOUL -- South Korea reported 3,938 more cases of the COVID-19 as of midnight Wednesday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 429,002.

The daily caseload was down from the country's record high of 4,116 in the prior day, but it was the second-highest daily figure since the first case was found in January last year.

The recent resurgence was attributable to cluster infections in the Seoul metropolitan area.

Thirty-nine more deaths were confirmed, leaving the death toll at 3,401. The total fatality rate was 0.79 percent. (South Korea-COVID-19)

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SYDNEY -- Australia's state of Victoria reached 90 percent double-dose vaccination for residents aged 12 and over on Thursday.

Most of Victoria's COVID-19 restrictions were lifted last Friday, in anticipation of the state hitting the 90 percent vaccination target at the weekend. But it took more days for Victorians to wait for the official confirmation.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Victoria had "done it tougher than anyone over the past two years" and the milestone was an "amazing achievement". (Australia-Victoria-COVID-19)

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