South Korea's consumer price growth continued to stay above 1 percent in August on a rise of agricultural goods and the service sector, government data showed Tuesday.
The country's consumer price index climbed 1.4 percent last month from a year earlier, decelerating from the previous month's 1.5 percent on-year gain, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.
From a month earlier, the index rose 0.5 percent.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile oil and food prices, grew 0.9 percent on-year.
The August figure is well below the Bank of Korea's target of 2 percent for the year, stoking speculation that the central bank's monetary tightening may be pushed forward at a gradual pace.
Prices of agricultural goods rose 3.5 percent on-year last month, compared with a 1.5 percent annual gain tallied for July, as the scorching summer drove up the cost of vegetables.
According to data from the Korea Meteorological Administration, there were 31.4 days of heat wave this summer, surpassing the previous record of 29.7 in 1994.
The number of nationwide tropical nights, during which the mercury remains above 25 C from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 a.m., was also a new record of 17.7 days, exceeding the 17.4 days tallied in 1994.
"Despite a surge in prices of agricultural products, a fall in electricity bills helped lower the overall consumer price rise," said an official at the agency.
In early August, the country decided to adjust the residential progressive electricity tariffs for July and August to ease the household burden of heavy electricity bills caused by the unprecedented summer heat.
Prices of industrial goods increased 2 percent from the year before, the same pace as reported for the previous month, the agency said.
The statistical office said service charges moved up 1.4 percent last month, vis-a-vis a 1.4 percent on-year increase in July. (Yonhap)