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S. Korea's consumer price growth hits nearly 20-year low in March

South Korea's consumer prices rose at the slowest pace in nearly 20 years in March on a drop in petrochemical products and a stabilization of prices of vegetables, government data showed Tuesday.

The consumer price index rose 0.4 last month from a year earlier, marking the third straight month that the consumer price index has hovered below 1 percent, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.


The March figure marks the lowest increase since July 1999, when the country's consumer prices rose 0.3 percent, the statistical office said.

"The biggest reason behind lower consumer prices is a decline in petrochemical products amid low oil prices," said Kim Yun-sung, director at the agency's price statistics division.

Prices of petrochemical products fell a sharp 9.6 percent in March from a year earlier while prices of vegetables dropped 12.9 percent in the same period as their output increased due to good weather, government data showed Tuesday.

Utility prices rose 1.3 percent on-year last month, while prices of industrial goods fell 0.7 percent, the statistics agency said.

The statistical agency also said prices of service charges increased 1.1 percent. (Yonhap)