South Korea Jan inflation unexpectedly ticks up
SEOUL – South Korea’s consumer inflation ticked up in January to a three-month high, against economists’ expectations, official data showed on Thursday.
The consumer price index was 5.2-percent higher in January than in the same month a year before, rising faster than the 5 percent rate seen in December, according to Statistics Korea. Economists had expected the pace of growth to stay steady at 5percent.
The index was 0.8 percent higher than in December, when the monthly rise was 0.2 percent. A 0.5 percent increase from December was tipped in a Reuters poll.
By product category, public utility costs rose 4.6 percent from the previous month while agricultural products jumped 6.2 percent, leading the index higher. Petroleum products fell 2.8 percent.
The core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, was up 4.1 percent in January on a year earlier, the same as in December, when annual core inflation eased for the first time in 13 months.
At their policy meeting on Jan. 13, most of the Bank of Korea’s board members were seen turning cautious about additional interest rate hikes, though the board voted on that day to raise rates by 25 basis points to 3.5 percent. Meeting minutes were released two days ago.
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