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Households' Q3 spending on liquor, tobacco hits new high amid pandemic

Household spending on alcohol and cigarettes in South Korea (Yonhap)
Household spending on alcohol and cigarettes in South Korea (Yonhap)
SEJONG -- South Korea's household spending on alcohol and cigarettes reached a new record high in the third quarter as the coronavirus outbreak forced more people to stay home, government data showed Wednesday.

Local households spent an average of 42,980 won ($38.7) on liquors and cigarettes during the July-September period, up 10.7 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from Statistics Korea.

It marks the largest quarterly amount since the agency began tracking related data in 2003.

The third-quarter growth rate was also the highest since the 22.2 recorded in the first quarter of 2016 in the wake of a cigarette price hike.

Household spending on alcohol and tobacco declined 4.2 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, but it swung to a 9.5 percent gain in the second quarter.

The statistical agency said the amount probably increased in the third quarter as people stayed home longer in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The new coronavirus, whose first case reported here in late January, has infected nearly 31,400 South Koreans so far, with the country's death toll reaching 510 as of Tuesday. (Yonhap)
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