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Government vows to curb soaring food prices ahead of Chuseok

First Vice Finance Minister Lee Eog-weon speaks during a meeting with vice ministers on inflation held at the government complex on Friday. (Ministry of Economy and Finance)
First Vice Finance Minister Lee Eog-weon speaks during a meeting with vice ministers on inflation held at the government complex on Friday. (Ministry of Economy and Finance)


The South Korean government will increase supplies of key fruits and vegetables from its stockpiles to stabilize market prices ahead of the Chuseok holiday set for Sept. 20-22, First Vice Finance Minister Lee Eog-weon said Friday.

“Prices of agricultural, livestock and fisheries products, which advanced 9.6 percent in July, continued a downward trend for a fifth consecutive month, but the figure still remained at a high level on the back of bird flu outbreaks coupled with an increase in public spending amid vacation season,” Lee said.

“We will take more active and preemptive measures to stabilize prices of agricultural, livestock and fisheries products as soon as possible before Chuseok.”

The government plans to increase supply of farm produce from its stockpiles ahead of the autumn harvest celebration that usually fuels demand, according to Lee. 

Lee’s remarks came as Asia’s fourth-largest economy faces growing inflationary pressure. 

Consumer prices grew 2.6 percent in July from a year earlier, accelerating from a 2.4 percent on-year gain, according to Statistics Korea. 

Meanwhile, Lee added it will bring in 100 million eggs in August and September, respectively, to combat the sharp price rises of the commodity. 

Due to the outbreak of avian influenza, which led to a supply shortage of eggs, consumer prices of eggs soared 57 percent on-year in July, the highest growth in four years, data showed.

He also pledged to guard crop supplies against potential uncertainties, such as adverse weather conditions. 

“This year, there seems to be less damage to local farms from heavy rain, but we can’t rule out the possibility of typhoons. We will closely monitor weather conditions to prevent vulnerable agricultural facilities from being hit by natural disasters.”

By Choi Jae-hee (cjh@heraldcorp.com)

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