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Inflation decelerates in August, but risks persist

Vegetable products are displayed at a large discount chain in Seoul on Aug. 28. (Yonhap)
Vegetable products are displayed at a large discount chain in Seoul on Aug. 28. (Yonhap)
SEJONG -- The growth in the nation's consumer prices somewhat decelerated last month after continuously expanding for six consecutive months from February-July. But the inflation still remained at a critically high level, state data showed Friday.

According to Statistics Korea, consumer prices climbed by 5.7 percent in August on-year amid ongoing global inflationary pressure, which has been causing high raw material prices.

It marked the first slowed growth in seven months after the inflation spiraled -- from 3.6 percent in January to 3.7 percent in February, 4.1 percent in March and 4.8 percent in April. The figure reached 5.4 percent in May, 6 percent in June and 6.3 percent in July.

The deceleration -- though it was meager -- was attributed to a slowdown in prices growth of industrial products as international crude oil prices fell to a certain extent in recent months.

The decline in crude prices led to slowdown in prices growth of petroleum products, such as gasoline, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas. These products rose by 19.7 percent in August collectively, while the growth had reached 35.1 percent a month earlier.

As a result, the prices growth in industrial goods inched down to 7 percent last month, compared to 8.9 percent in July.

Agricultural products were found to have contributed much to high inflation, with prices climbing 10.4 percent. Prices of vegetables surged by 27.9 percent.

Zucchinis shot up in price by 83.2 percent, cabbage by 78 percent, cucumbers by 69.2 percent and spring onions by 48.9 percent. Among fruits, grape prices rose 22 percent.

Further, data showed that dining-out prices climbed to the highest point in 30 years to post an 8.8 percent growth in the wake of the 11.4 percent growth in prices of chicken and 9.8 percent for raw fish.

First Vice Finance Minister Bang Ki-sun said that the government would continue to be alert to the market as high growth in consumer price growths persists.

“(The government) will closely monitor the growing demand ahead of the traditional holiday and potential factors for prices instability, which includes future directions of international raw material prices,” he said during a vice ministerial meeting in Seoul on the same day.

By Kim Yon-se (kys@heraldcorp.com)

 

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