Consumer prices gain 2.5% on-year in May: gov't report
Korea's consumer prices grew at the same pace in May compared to a year earlier amid the government's push to tame inflationary pressure, a report showed Friday.
According to the report by Statistics Korea, the country's consumer price index rose 2.5 percent in May from a year earlier, unchanged from a 2.5 percent gain tallied in April. The index rose 0.2 percent from a month ago.
May's reading marks the third month in a row that inflation stood in the 2 percent range, down from 4 percent growth reported for the whole of 2011.
The so-called core inflation, which excludes volatile oil and food costs, grew 1.6 percent from a year earlier, which represents a deceleration from a 1.8 percent increase for the previous month.
"Prices of fresh farm produce, some industrial goods and fuel pushed up prices, but such gains were offset by weak growth in the service sector such as payment covering childcare and telecommunication-related fees," said Ahn Hyung-jun, the head of the statistical office's prices statistical division.
Both public and private service prices rose a modest 0.6 percent on-year in May.
Telecommunication fees contracted 3.4 percent on-year with education-related expenses gaining 1.2 percent. Miscellaneous service changes fell 4.5 percent from the year before.
The office said compared to the year before money spent on childcare and school lunches plunged 34.0 percent and 19.3 percent, each. Such developments occurred after the government moved to expand support for pre-school and school children in answer to public demand.
Prices for food, farm and non-alcoholic beverages shot up 6.5 percent, with clothing and transportation prices going up 5.0 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively.
The latest report also showed that the 0.2 percent increase in consumer prices vis-a-vis April, was due in part to seasonal factors such as a rise in demand for summer clothing. It said that a rise in liquefied petroleum gas used in cars pushed up energy prices last month.
Rent also gained 4.5 percent on-year and 0.3 percent from April, which could exert further inflationary pressure down the line, according to the report. (Yonhap)