Korea’s consumer price growth slows in March

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Korea’s consumer price growth slows in March

Korea’s consumer prices increased more than 1 percent in March on a rise in the costs of agricultural goods and services, but growth slowed from a month earlier, government data showed Tuesday.

The country’s consumer price index climbed 1.3 percent last month from March of the previous year, decelerating from the 1.4 percent on-year gain in February, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

The March figure is well below the Bank of Korea’s target of 2 percent for the year, stoking speculation that the central bank’s monetary tightening will be gradual down the road.

From a month earlier, the index fell 0.1 percent in March.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile oil and food prices, grew 1.3 percent in March compared with last year.

Prices of agricultural goods rose 2.1 percent on-year last month, slowing from a 3.6 percent on-year gain the previous month, with those for industrial goods increasing 0.9 percent on-year, compared with a 0.8 percent on-year rise the previous month, the agency said.

The statistical office said prices of service fees advanced 1.7 percent last month, compared with a 1.7 percent on-year rise.

“Unusually low temperatures during winter continued to help jack up prices of agricultural goods and other vegetables,” said an official at the statistics office.

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