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S. Korea CPI Speeds Up

S. Korea CPI Speeds UpS. Korea CPI Speeds Up

South Korea’s annual inflation accelerated modestly in February, boosted by a surge in fresh food prices over winter, but remains below levels that would have implications for monetary policy. Statistics Korea said the consumer price index rose 1.4% in February from a year ago, faster than the 1% gain recorded in January and slightly above the 1.2% rise expected in a Reuters survey. Still, benchmark inflation has held below the Bank of Korea’s 2% target since October last year, making inflation a hurdle to any monetary policy tightening this year. A sub-index for fresh food costs jumped 4.3% on-year as fruits and vegetable prices rose steeply due to cold winter weather. Prices of strawberries jumped 23.2%, while prices for pumpkin and rice surged 25.5% and 21.1% respectively. “A cold wave throughout February pushed up the prices of fresh vegetables while consumer prices were largely stable. Oil prices are ticking up again and supporting prices of industrial products,” a Statistics Korea official said.

 

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