Kimchi index a new tool in inflation fight

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Kimchi index a new tool in inflation fight

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The government said yesterday it will create an index for kimchi prices in order to manage cabbage prices more efficiently.

The idea to develop the kimchi index also reflects a new trend that is seeing consumers increasingly buy processed kimchi and salted cabbage rather than raw cabbage to make kimchi.

“The index will help manage supply and demand of both raw and salted cabbage,” the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said in a statement.

The government will also build facilities to store cabbage.

The total budget to develop the index and related facilities has been set at 5 billion won ($4.67 million).

According to the retail industry, the recent series of cold spells caused cabbage prices to surge 153 percent from last year to add to shoppers’ financial burden.

“Due to the recent heavy snow and cold spells, prices of agricultural products are skyrocketing,” Minister of Strategy and Finance Bahk Jae-wan said at an anti-inflation meeting yesterday. “In order to stabilize supply and demand, the government will take the necessary measures.”

The government will store and release an additional 3,000 tons of cabbage during the winter, especially when many households start making kimchi for next year.

The government will also step up its surveillance of rising food and public service prices in a bid to prevent inflation from hurting the livelihoods of low- and mid-income earners.

Bahk also warned local manufacturers of processed foods that they would be punished if they increase product prices by unfairly taking advantage of lax market monitoring during the power transition period after Park Geun-hye won the Dec. 19 presidential election.


By Song Su-hyun [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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