Consumer prices still rising, gain 2% in May

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Consumer prices still rising, gain 2% in May


A shopper checking out the chicken at a major retail store in Seoul on Thursday. Chicken was one of the food products that saw a sharp price increase in May. [YONHAP]

Korea’s consumer prices continued their uptick, touching 2 percent in May on high-flying oil and livestock prices, government data showed Thursday.

The country’s consumer price index gained 2 percent last month from a year earlier, up slightly from the previous month’s 1.9 percent rise, according to data from Statistics Korea.

Consumer prices have been hovering around 2 percent since January due to a sharp gain in oil prices, following a 1.3 percent on-year gain in December. From a month earlier, the index edged up 0.1 percent in May.

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

The statistics office said rising meat and egg prices contributed to the recent upward swing of prices.

The cost of livestock products rose 11.6 percent year on year in May, while egg costs surged 67.9 percent in the aftermath of an avian influenza outbreak. Pork prices jumped 12.2 percent year on year, on rising demand in the spring.

Moreover, a steady hike in petroleum prices pushed up consumer prices last month as prices of gasoline at the pump rose 7 percent last month and diesel vaulted 10.3 percent.

Food prices at restaurants and insurance fees added 2.4 percent year on year last month to lend support to the overall gain in consumer prices.

“Crude oil prices has been on a rise for nearly a year, although the upside pace has been slowing down to some extent,” said Woo Young-jae, director of the price statistics division at the statistical bureau.

“This month, livestock prices and private service charges also played a role in fueling inflation.”

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