Finance minister calls for biz efforts to lower costs
Published : Nov 17, 2011 - 17:12
Updated : Nov 17, 2011 - 20:37
South Korea’s economic chief urged businesses Thursday to keep up efforts to lower production costs and minimize marketing expenses in a bid to help stabilize consumer prices.

Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan noted that the government will do its part in stabilizing prices by improving the distribution structure, easing regulations and lowering import duties on raw materials.

“Companies need to absorb price-raising factors as much as possible by cutting production costs and minimizing marketing expenses,” Bahk told a price stabilization meeting.

“For its part, the government will push to ease their cost burdens by adjusting import duties on raw materials, while improving the distribution structure, reforming and easing regulations aimed at building an economic system where prices can remain stable,” he said.

His remarks come amid worries that food price increases could put upward pressure on overall consumer inflation, which has shown signs of stabilizing in recent months. Dairy makers recently raised prices for milk, yogurt, coffee and other food products.

The country’s consumer price index rose 3.9 percent last month from a year earlier, slowing from the 4.3 percent on-year gain in September.

The October figure marked the first time this year that the index has fallen below the government’s annual inflation target of 4 percent for 2011. Prices also shrank 0.2 percent from a month earlier.

Bahk said that inflation seems to be easing, driven by lower costs of agricultural, fishery and livestock products but he remained cautious about still-high prices of imported goods, including crude oil. 

(Yonhap News)