South Korea’s consumer prices soared 3.7 percent in December against a year-ago period after 3.8 percent in the previous month to result in a 10-year high annual inflation rate of 2.5 percent for full 2021, data showed Friday.
According to Statistics Korea on Friday, the country’s consumer price index (CPI) stayed strong in the final month, up 3.7 percent on year to keep up increase in the 3 percent range for the third month, despite easing in fuel prices from government cut.
For full 2021, the inflation added 2.5 percent to 102.5 in 2021 from the previous year, marking the strongest gain since 4.0 percent in 2011.
Korea has grappled with strong prices on jump in international commodity prices and across-the-board increases from faster-than-expected global economic recovery throughout the second half after enduring deflation over the last two years with inflation rate at 0.4 percent in 2019 and 0.5 percent in 2020.
This year’s inflation finished higher than estimates of 2.3 percent of the Bank of Korea and 2.4 percent of the government.
The central bank projects inflation to average 2.0 percent, within mid-to long-term target, but price strengthening is expected to continue throughout the first half, with utility rates going up from the second quarter.
Source: Statistics Korea
Service prices gained 2 percent this year from last year, marking the steepest gain in four years.
Prices of industrial goods rose 2.3 percent, the fastest pace in 9 years after 2.8 percent in 2012.
Prices of agricultural, livestock, and fisheries products gained 8.7 percent to mark the sharpest pace in 10 years after 9.2 percent in 2011.
Utility prices that include electricity, water, and gas, meanwhile, fell 2.1 percent on year in 2021.
Living necessaries prices index soared 3.2 percent from a year ago, the sharpest since 4.4 percent in 2011.
By Lee Eun-joo
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