South Korea’s headline inflation in March remained subdued despite strong fresh food prices, underscoring lethargic domestic demand.
According to Statistics Korea on Tuesday, the country’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.3 percent in March against a year ago, easing from the 1.4 percent gain in the previous month.
Prices have been slipping further away from the central bank’s inflation target of 2 percent since October, which would likely stall the Bank of Korea’s synchronized action to the U.S. tightening at its monetary policy meeting on Thursday next week.
The three-year government bond yield finished Tuesday 3.2 basis points lower at 2.193 percent and the five-year bond 0.9 basis points lower at 2.634 percent.
Prices of agricultural products rose 4.7 percent from a year earlier, easing from a 7.4 percent surge in the previous month.
Livestock products prices fell 3.9 percent on year due to the increased supply of eggs and pork. Prices of fishery products soared 5.2 percent, boosted by a 33.1 percent jump in squid prices amid short supply.
Petroleum-related prices gained 3.2 percent, lifting the inflation by 0.15 percentage point.
The index for everyday expenses reflecting spending for stable food and utility fees grew 1.1 percent, slowing from a 1.4 percent increase from a month ago. Food prices gained 1.2 percent and prices for living necessaries excluding food rose 1.0 percent.
By Lee Yu-sup and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]