South Korea’s consumer prices grew at a faster pace in November than a month earlier, fueled by a rise in product and public utility costs, a government report showed Thursday.
According to the report by Statistics Korea, the country’s consumer price index rose 4.2 percent last month from a year earlier, increasing from a 3.6 percent on-year gain in October.
The latest figure comes after the index stayed below the government’s annual inflation target of 4 percent for this year in September and October.
Compared to the previous month, prices rose 0.1 percent after shrinking 0.2 percent in October from September.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile oil and farm product costs, grew 3.5 percent from a year earlier, which is an increase from the 3.2 percent on-year gain tallied in October.
The statistical office said prices of industrial goods and public utility prices contributed to the annual gain.
Prices of industrial goods, which include processed food, rose 6.4 percent on-year, while electricity, water and gas prices jumped 7.4 percent.
Service sector prices gained 2.7 percent with farm and fishery product costs moving up 3.4 percent compared to a year earlier.
The office said that despite a rise in overall farm product costs, its fresh food price index fell 4.2 percent from a year earlier, with vegetable prices plunging 18.9 percent.
In the service sector, home rental prices rose 5.1 with personal service prices gaining 3.7 percent. Public service costs, however, contracted 1.2 percent on-year last month.
November’s data showed that the rise in international energy prices pushed up the cost of various fuel products by double digits vis-a-vis the previous year.
Prices of gasoline and diesel fuel rose 15.1 percent and 17.5 percent, respectively, while liquefied petroleum gas used in cars and kerosene costs rose 13.8 percent and 23.8 percent on-year.
The rise in consumer prices is bad news for the government, which has been hard pressed to tame inflationary pressure this year, driven up mostly by higher energy, food and other commodity prices.
High prices raise living costs, trigger demand for more pay and generally hurt economic growth.
The statistics office, meanwhile, said the monthly data is based on a revised calculating scheme that added or deleted items checked to better reflect actual consumer prices.
Under the old scheme November’s consumer prices gained 4.6 percent on-year with numbers rising 0.1 on a monthly basis. (Yonhap News)