South Korea Inflation Rate Slows to 31-Month Low
South Korea's annual inflation rate fell to 0.4 percent in March of 2019 from 0.5 percent in the previous month, well below market expectations of 0.9 percent. It was the lowest inflation rate since August 2016, mainly driven by a slowdown in cost of housing and utilities.
Year-on-year, prices increased at a softer pace for: housing & utilities (1.2 percent vs 1.5 percent in February); restaurant & hotels (2.2 percent vs 2.8 percent); education (1.2 percent vs 1.4 percent); recreation & culture (0.2 percent vs 0.6 percent); miscellaneous goods & services (1.5 percent vs 1.6 percent); and furnishing, household equipment & routine maintenance (2.4 percent vs 3.2 percent). Also, cost of clothing and footwear was unchanged, after a 0.4 percent rise in February. In addition, cost of alcoholic beverages & tobacco fell (-0.1 percent vs a flat reading) and prices dropped further for health (-0.5 percent vs -0.4 percent); and communication (-2.4 percent vs -2.3 percent). Meantime, prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 1.1 percent in March, accelerating from a 0.4 percent rise in February; and cost of transport decreased less (-3.6 percent vs -4.2 percent).
For 2019, the Bank of Korea targets inflation rate to be at 2 percent.
Core CPI, which excludes oil and agricultural products, increased by 0.8 percent year-on-year in March, easing from a 1.1 percent rise in February and marking the lowest figure in eight months.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices declined by 0.2 percent in March, against market expectations of a 0.4 percent rise and after a 0.4 percent increase in February.
4/2/2019 9:39:31 AM