Grain price in South Korea gained at the fastest ever pace during the first six months this year on spike in rice price from supply cut, data showed.
According to the Statistics Korea on Sunday, the country’s grain price jumped 19.8 percent during the first six months this year from the same period a year ago. It is the fastest on-year gain since such data has been compiled from 1985. It also is the first time for the grain price to rise in four years. Grain price grew at the average pace of between 6 and 10 percent in 2011-2013 but started to head downward since 2014.
The main culprit behind the steep rise in grain price was rice, of which price soared 26.4 percent in the January-June period from a year ago - the fastest since 1981 with 34.8 percent. Rice supply dropped sharply last year as more farmers stopped growing rice under the government’s guide to control supply in an attempt to resolve the glut in rice supplies due to westernized eating habits. The country produced total 3.97 million tons of rice last year, down 5.3 percent on year and the lowest since 1980.
Prices of other agricultural product also rose sharply during the cited period. Out of 460 items subject to the statistics office’s food price track, six farm produce products made the top 10 list that showed the fastest on-year gain.
By product, ginger price grew at the fastest pace of 45.3 percent during the first half from a year ago, followed by chili powder with 43.6 percent and potatoes with 36.0 percent.
Squid price also rose sharply and made the top 10 list as supply declined sharply last year. Price of fresh squid jumped 29.1 percent, dried squid 34.8 percent, and processed squid meat 21.0 percent. Price of small octopus, a substitute for squid, jumped 19.7 percent on year.
By Lee Yoo-sup and Cho Jeehyun
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