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S. Korea's consumer prices slow for 4th month in May

June 2, 2023 - 09:21 By Yonhap
A shopper pushes a cart at a supermarket in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

South Korea's consumer prices growth slowed for the fourth consecutive month in May from a year ago, data showed Friday, in yet another signal that the country's inflation has passed its peak.

Consumer prices, a key gauge of inflation, rose 3.3 percent last month from a year earlier, compared with a 3.7 percent on-year rise in April, according to the report from Statistics Korea.

The growth fell below 4 percent for the first time in 14 months in April.

The prices of utility services shot up 23.2 percent on-year in May amid the prolonged jitters in the global energy supply amid the Russia-Ukraine war, which induced the state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. to raise rates. South Korea depends heavily on imports for its energy needs.

The prices of agricultural, fisheries and livestock products, on the other hand, slightly decreased by 0.3 percent, due to the stabilized costs of pork and beef products, although the price tags on chicken and mackerel moved up.

Industrial product prices increased 1.8 percent on-year, led by higher costs for bread and children's clothes. Those of diesel and gasoline, on the other hand, fell 24 percent and 16.5 percent, respectively.

Prices of services increased 3.7 percent on-year, due to higher insurance and housing management costs.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose 3.9 percent on-year in May, compared with a 4 percent rise tallied a month earlier.

Prices of daily necessities -- 144 items closely related to people's everyday lives, such as food, clothing and housing -- climbed 3.2 percent on-year last month, slightly slowing from 3.7 percent tallied in April.

South Korea's inflation has been on a downward trend with some ups and downs after reaching a peak of 6.3 percent in July last year.

Last week, the Bank of Korea held the benchmark interest rate steady for the third straight time at 3.5 percent on easing inflationary pressure amid rising concerns over an economic slowdown.

Inflation stayed above 2 percent -- the central bank's inflation target over the medium term -- for the 26th straight month in May. (Yonhap)