The Korea Herald


S. Korea to release vegetable, salt reserves amid price hikes

By Yonhap

Published : Oct. 28, 2022 - 09:16

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Napa cabbages, a key ingredient of kimchi, are displayed at a supermarket in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap) Napa cabbages, a key ingredient of kimchi, are displayed at a supermarket in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)

South Korea plans to release its stockpile of vegetables and salt to cope with the lingering inflation for the annual kimchi-making period ahead of winter, the government said Friday.

Under the plan, South Korea will release 5,000 tons of garlic, 1.4 tons of peppers and 3.6 tons of onions starting next week, according to the finance and agricultural ministries. It plans to supply 500 tons of salt reserves to traditional markets as well.

"For a considerable period, prices are expected to stay higher than in the past, amid the internal and external risk factors," Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho said during a meeting in Seoul.

Local prices of agricultural goods have advanced 8.7 percent on-year in September, narrowing their growth from the 10.4 percent hike tallied in August.

Kimchi is a popular Korean fermented side dish, eaten with almost every meal. While a growing number of people purchase ready-made products nowadays, many households still make their own kimchi, making the price of ingredients one of the key gauges of inflation.

Around 65 percent of consumers plan to make their own kimchi this year, according to a survey by the Korea Rural Economic Institute.

The ministries said that while the output of key ingredients, such as napa cabbage and white radish, is expected to remain stable, the country needs to brace for a sudden change in the harvest following changes in the climate.

South Korea also plans to offer coupons worth 17.1 billion won ($12 million) to offer discounts of up to 20 percent, the ministries added.

The country has been grappling with inflation, with its consumer prices soaring 5.6 percent on-year in September. The Bank of Korea forecasts inflation could stay in the 5-6 percent range for a considerable period of time.

Choo said South Korea's inflationary pressure may be eased following lower energy prices observed in October. (Yonhap)