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Korea's consumer prices up 1.9% in April

South Korea's consumer prices continued their rise in April, going up nearly 2 percent amid high-flying oil prices, government data showed Tuesday.

The country's consumer price index gained 1.9 percent last month from a year earlier, slowing down from the previous month's 2.2 percent rise, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.
(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

Consumer prices have been hovering around 2 percent since the first month of 2016 due to a sharp gain in oil prices, following a 1.3 percent on-year gain in December last year.

From a month earlier, the index edged down 0.3 percentage point to 102.66 in April, with it set at 100 in 2015.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile oil and food prices, increased 1.5 percent compared with last year.

The statistics office said rising prices at the pumps pushed up consumer prices last month, but the April inflation was partly offset by a drop in vegetable prices.

Prices of gasoline and petroleum products advanced 11.7 percent last month from a year ago amid an upturn in global crude oil prices.

Gas prices at the pump jumped 9.5 percent on-year last month, and those of diesel gained 14.1 percent on-year, while a 3.9 percent hike in natural gas rates also lent support to the monthly consumer price hike.

But prices of vegetables fell 6.1 percent in April from a year earlier on an increased supply over the spring season, backtracking from a 1.6 percent rise in the previous month.

In particular, prices of Chinese cabbage plunged 36.6 percent on-year last month, with those of broccoli and ginger decreasing 42 percent and 36 percent, respectively.

"Prices of agricultural and petroleum products fluctuate widely from time to time and affect the prices index to a large extent," said Woo Young-jae, director of the price statistics division at the statistical bureau. "But the upside trend of 2 percent inflation will likely continue further, if there are no sudden ups and downs."

The finance ministry also expected inflation to remain stable in the coming months, given the recent steady movements of oil prices and the increasing supply of vegetables.

"The government will keep close tabs on such variables and carry out price-stabilizing measures if the need arises," it said. (Yonhap)
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