South Korea’s headline inflation gained 1.9 percent in February on year, largely due to rebound in oil prices. Fresh food prices that had led up consumer prices slowed its growth pace but prices of petroleum products and transportation accelerated at the fastest pace in five years.
According to data released by Statistics Korea Friday, the nation’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.9 percent last month from a year earlier. The annualized inflation rate that had remained at 0.5 percent in August 2016 shot up to stay in 1 percent range during the September-December period last year and jumped further to 2.0 percent, biggest year-on-year gain since 2.1 percent of October 2012, last month.
The jump in the headline index in recent months was largely blamed on rebound in oil prices. Petroleum-related prices edged up 13.3 percent to drag up the overall CPI by 0.54 percentage point. It is the biggest annualized gain since 16.0 percent of November 2011.
Due to the hike in petroleum-related prices, manufactured goods prices also surged 2.4 percent, the fastest since 3.3 percent of September 2012.
Transportation prices including fuel price and public transportation charges soared 6.0 percent, the fasted since December 2011, and pulled up the headline inflation by 0.64 percentage point.
Prices of agricultural, livestock and fishery products slowed down its annualized growth to 4.3 percent from 8.5 percent in the previous month as the egg prices that skyrocketed due to the worst-ever outbreak of bird flu were subdued. Egg prices reversed to minus growth on month and the year-on-year gain contracted 50.6 percent from 61.9 percent in the previous month.
By Kim Gyu-sik
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