Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s central bank on Thursday warned that Europe’s debt crisis and weak growth in other parts of the world could result in Asia’s fourth-largest economy underperforming for an extended period.
The bank’s pessimistic assessment reinforced views that it’s likely to cut interest rates again later this year to boost domestic demand and offset the impact of waning exports.
The bank on Thursday left its key interest rate unchanged at 3 percent after a surprise rate cut last month. Analysts expected the pause as the bank is waiting to see the impact of the quarter point cut, which was the first in more than three years.
The Bank of Korea said in statement that the economy will underperform its growth potential for “a considerable time going forward” due to increased risks from Europe and sluggish demand from its major trading partners.
Economic growth in South Korea had “slowed” due to lackluster exports and poor domestic demand, Governor Kim Choong-soo told reporters.
Analysts believe the central bank will further lower borrowing costs before December presidential elections, as South Korea’s economy increasingly need to rely on consumer and corporate spending while exports remain weak.
South Korea’s exports sank 8.8 percent in July, the biggest annual drop since October of 2009. But it is uncertain if consumer spending and corporate investment can entirely make up for the decline in exports. Consumer confidence is at a five-month low and retail sales have retreated for two straight months.
The central bank last month cut its forecast for South Korea’s economic growth this year by half a percentage point to 3 percent, the lowest since 2009.
Officials even hinted that 3 percent may not be achievable. South Korea’s finance ministry has rejected repeated calls from the parliament to produce a stimulus package to boost spending.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s inflation rate eased to below 2 percent, giving more leeway for policymakers to cut interest rates.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.