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S. Korea to boost supply of foodstuff ahead of Lunar New Year

Citizens shop for groceries at a discount store in Seoul on Sunday. (Yonhap)
Citizens shop for groceries at a discount store in Seoul on Sunday. (Yonhap)
South Korea plans to increase the supply of key foodstuff needed to prepare for the Lunar New Year holiday starting next week in a bid to help tame inflationary pressure, a senior government official said Friday.

The government will begin to supply a record amount of 204,000 tons of holiday-related foodstuff, such as napa cabbages, beef and pork, on Monday for three weeks in the runup to the traditional holiday set for Jan. 31-Feb. 2, according to First Vice Finance Minister Lee Eog-weon.

Demand for vegetables, eggs and other foodstuff usually rises in South Korea ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday and the Chuseok fall harvest holiday as people prepare holiday meals for family gatherings.

"Despite increased supply, prices of agriculture, livestock and fisheries goods may face upward pressure in January amid strong demand and the effect of cold weather," Lee said at a government meeting on inflation.

South Korea's consumer prices grew at the fastest pace in 10 years last year due to surging energy costs and high prices of farm products.

Inflation grew 2.5 percent in 2021, accelerating from a 0.5 percent gain the previous year.

The country's consumer inflation grew more than 3 percent for the third month in a row in December. The Bank of Korea (BOK) aims to keep annual inflation at 2 percent over the medium term.

The BOK put its 2022 inflation outlook at 2 percent for this year. The finance ministry expects consumer prices to grow 2.2 percent in 2022. (Yonhap)
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