South Korea’s inflation rate is galloping towards 5 percent, with the year-on-year gain in April at its strongest level since the onset of global financial crisis of 2008.
According to Statistics Korea on Tuesday, the country’s consumer price index (CPI) jumped 4.8 percent year over year in April, the highest reading since October 2008.
The CPI gain hovering above 3 percent since October last year picked up to 4.1 percent in March and added more speed last month as global supply chain disruption and energy prices worsened from Russian invasion of Ukraine.
At current pace, the Bank of Korea is most likely to deliver back-to-back hike this month.
Prices rose across the board as expensive import cost spilled over to utility to dining bills.
The core CPI counting out volatile food and energy factors rose 3.6 percent in April, the highest since December 2011.
Prices of industrial goods rose 7.8 percent on year in April. Prices of fuel jumped 34.4 percent and processed foods 7.2 percent. Prices of gasoline increased 28.5 percent, diesel 42.4 percent, and automotive LPG 29.3 percent.
Industrial goods contributed 2.7 percentage points to overall price growth.
Prices of agricultural, livestock and fishery products gained 1.9 percent mainly led by a 7.1 percent surge in livestock items, data showed. Prices of imported beef jumped 28.8 percent, pork 5.5 percent, grape 23 percent, and Korean beef 3.4 percent. Prices of spring onions, meanwhile, fell 61.4 percent and apples 23.4 percent.
Electricity, water, and gas prices rose 6.8 percent on year in April. Electricity price jumped 11 percent.
Prices of services soared 3.2 percent – individual service 4.5 percent, public service 0.7 percent, and housing 2 percent.
Of individual service, the cost of dining out rose 6.6 percent, remaining unchanged from a month ago but still the highest since 7 percent in April 1998.
The price of monthly rent went up 1 percent and jeonse, or long-term deposit rent, 2.8 percent.
Living necessaries price index jumped 5.7 percent, the highest since 6.6 percent in August 2008.
“The prices of industrial goods like fuel and processed foods and individual services rose sharply on top of higher gas, electricity, and water prices,” said Eo Woon-sun, an official at Statistics Korea.
By Lee Eun-joo
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]