WASHINGTON (Yonhap News) ― Worldwide inflationary pressure brought on by soaring commodities and farm prices should stabilize after the second quarter of this year, Korea’s finance minister said Friday.
In a meeting with reporters in Washington, Finance Minister Yoon Jeung-hyun said supply shortages in the agricultural sector, triggered by bad weather, are showing signs of stabilizing this month. He also said that although international commodities prices remain a source of concern that requires close attention, they may yet stabilize in the coming months.
“Inflation is a problem confronting all countries around the world that requires close international cooperation,” said the policymaker, who is in the U.S. capital to attend the Group of 20 finance ministers meeting. He said that there is consensus in the G20 for emerging countries like China to do more to stem price gains.
Yoon Jeung-hyun. (Yonhap News)
The official stressed that a rise in consumer prices is of particular concern for Korea, which has to import most raw materials from abroad to run its economy. The country also relies heavily on foreign food imports to feed its 49 million people.
“There is a need for Seoul to raise its voice in the international arena so more can be done to stabilize prices,” he stressed.
Korea’s consumer price index jumped 4.7 percent on-year in March, the fastest hike in 29 months. The government, which initially wanted to keep inflation at around 3 percent, has recently conceded that numbers may not fall below 4 percent in the first half.
On the economic fallout from the March 11 earthquake that devastated Japan, Yoon said there is little disagreement over the tragedy’s impact on the global economy in the short term. He, however, said that despite various uncertainties there is consensus that the global economy as a whole is making slow but steady gains.