Korea’s producer prices rose at the fastest pace in more than two years in February due to a hike in international oil and commodity prices, the central bank said Thursday.
The producer price index (PPI), a barometer of future consumer inflation, climbed 6.6 percent in February from a year earlier, up from 6.2 percent the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea.
It marked the fastest expansion since a 7.8 percent on-year gain tallied in November 2008, it added.
Compared with the previous month, however, the country’s producer prices grew 0.7 percent, decelerating from a 1.6 percent on-month gain in January, mainly due to slowed growth in prices of agricultural and fishery goods.
The data came before the BOK raised its benchmark seven-day repo rate by 0.25 percentage points to 3 percent in a monthly rate-setting meeting for March.
Mounting concerns over strong consumer price gains prodded the central bank to increase its key interest rate to control inflationary pressures, analysts said.
Amid rising oil costs, sparked by Middle East political uprising, and domestic food price gains, the country’s consumer price soared 4.5 percent in February from a year earlier, marking the biggest on-year growth in 27 months.