Sun, 04 Dec 2022

SEOUL, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's consumer price growth slowed for two months in September owing to a lower increase in energy costs, statistical office data showed Wednesday.

The consumer price index (CPI) stood at 108.93 last month, up 5.6 percent from a year ago, according to Statistics Korea. It was down from a 5.7 percent gain in August.

The headline inflation fell for the second straight month after accelerating earlier this year with 4.1 percent in March, 4.8 percent in April, 5.4 percent in May, 6.0 percent in June and 6.3 percent in July, respectively.

The lower inflation in September was driven by a slower gain in oil products price that were affected by cheaper crude oil.

The price for industrial products, including oil products, climbed 6.7 percent in September from a year earlier, after rising 8.9 percent in July and 7.0 percent in August, respectively.

Oil products price went up 16.6 percent in September, after surging 35.1 percent in July and 19.7 percent in August. The rising pace of oil products price hovered above 30 percent for five successive months through July.

The price for gasoline, diesel and kerosene spiked 5.2 percent, 28.4 percent and 71.4 percent each last month.

The headline inflation exceeded the Bank of Korea (BOK)'s mid-term target of 2 percent for 18 months in a row.

To curb the still high inflation, the BOK has hiked its policy rate since August last year, lifting the rate in seven steps from 0.50 percent to 2.50 percent.

Expectations ran high for the BOK to raise the key rate by 50 basis points later this month.

Processed food price gained 8.7 percent in September on higher bread price, after going up 8.4 percent in August.

The price for agricultural, livestock and fishery products was up 6.2 percent in September on a yearly basis.

Vegetable price soared 22.1 percent, and those for pork and imported beef picked up 4.1 percent and 12.7 percent respectively.

The price for electricity, natural gas and tap water advanced 14.6 percent in September after surging 15.7 percent in the previous month.

Pent-up demand, caused by the lifting of all the anti-COVID-19 measures except an indoor mask mandate, boosted services prices, especially eating-out costs.

Private services price, including eating-out cost, increased 6.4 percent in September from a year earlier, marking the highest growth in over 24 years since April 1998.

The expense for dining out jumped 9.0 percent last month, logging the highest in over 30 years since July 1992. Public services price added 0.7 percent.

Housing rent, including deposit and monthly rent, climbed 1.8 percent in September from a year ago.

The livelihood items index, which gauges the price for daily necessities, rose 6.5 percent in September from a year ago, after increasing 6.8 percent in the previous month.

The fresh food index, which measures the price for fish, shellfish, fruit and vegetable, gained 12.8 percent in September, after picking up 14.9 percent in August.

Demand-side inflationary pressures mounted on pent-up demand caused by the lifting of anti-virus measures.

Core consumer price, which excludes volatile agricultural and oil products, went up 4.5 percent in September on a yearly basis.

The OECD-method core price, excluding volatile energy and food costs, climbed 4.1 percent last month.

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