South Korea cuts interest rate to record low amid Mers outbreak

Jessica Morris
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The Mers outbreak is hurting businesses such as retailers (Source: Getty)

South Korea has had to slash its benchmark interest rate to a record low amid a deadly outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers).

Bank of Korea cut its main interest rate by 0.25 per cent taking it to 1.5 per cent amid dampening domestic demand and slowing exports.

"In particular, we are concerned that economic and consumer sentiment, which had been improving, will worsen rapidly because of the Mers crisis," it said in a statement.

Mers and severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) both come from the same family of viruses - known as coronavirus. However, while Mers is more deadly than Sars, it doesn't spread as easily.

So far South Korea's outbreak - which has had 122 recorded cases as well as nine deaths - is the largest outside Saudi Arabia.

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