The Korea Herald


S. Korea's consumer prices accelerate in September on higher oil costs

By Yonhap

Published : Oct. 5, 2023 - 09:45

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A customer shops for groceries at a supermarket in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap) A customer shops for groceries at a supermarket in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)

South Korea's on-year consumer prices accelerated by the most in five months in September, driven by higher oil costs and rising prices of some farm goods, data showed Thursday.

Consumer prices, a key gauge of inflation, rose 3.7 percent last month from a year earlier, according to the data from Statistics Korea.

In August, consumer prices increased 3.4 percent on-year, accelerating from 2.3 percent growth tallied in July.

It was the highest on-year rise since the 3.7 percent growth tallied in April.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose 3.3 percent on-year in September, expanding at the same margin as the previous month.

Prices of utility services continued to grow sharply, advancing 19.1 percent amid volatile global energy prices. South Korea depends heavily on imports for its energy needs.

Those of agricultural and fishery products moved up 3.7 percent, with price tags on apples and rice soaring 54.8 percent and 14.5 percent, respectively.

The agency, however, said prices of napa cabbages and homegrown beef fell 35.2 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively, over the period.

Prices of industrial products went up 3.4 percent, led mostly by higher clothing costs.

Costs of gasoline moved up 1.9 percent, while those of diesel fell 10.2 percent, the data also showed.

The service sector gained 2.9 percent on-year in September due to higher insurance and house management costs.

Prices of daily necessities -- 144 items closely related to people's everyday lives, such as food, clothing and housing -- climbed 4.4 percent on-year in September, accelerating from a 3.9 percent rise a month earlier.

"The consumer prices' direction will likely depend on global oil prices," an official from the agency said.

South Korea's central bank held its key interest rate steady at 3.5 percent in August for the fifth straight time as it weighs a slowdown in growth amid moderating inflation. (Yonhap)