Gov’t fails to curb soaring prices of daily goods

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Gov’t fails to curb soaring prices of daily goods

Prices of daily necessities increased in December despite government efforts to fight rising inflation, the state-run consumer protection watchdog said yesterday.

The report by the Korea Consumer Agency showed that of 102 everyday consumer necessities monitored, such as sugar, cereals and detergents, prices of 70 products, or 68 percent, went up in December from a month earlier. Prices for 28 products fell or remained unchanged over the cited period.

Significantly more products rose last month than in November, when 53 percent became more expensive, the agency said. The comparable figures for October and September were 52 percent and 46 percent, respectively.

Prices of rice, pork and powdered red pepper surged on tight supply, and some vegetables also grew pricier during the winter season, the report showed.

Consumer prices rose 4.2 percent in December from a year earlier, raising worries that inflation could remain a drag on the nation’s economy. The country’s consumer prices rose 4 percent in 2011, hitting the upper ceiling of the central bank’s target band of between 2 percent and 4 percent.

Korean policymakers have put anti-inflation efforts at the top of their economic agenda this year. The Bank of Korea said earlier that its monetary policy goal in 2012 will be to focus on maintaining price stability.

Separately, the government said it will increase the supply of key agricultural products and strengthen its monitoring of prices as demand is expected to rise ahead of this year’s Lunar New Year holidays from Jan. 22 to 24.


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