The National Statistical Office of South Korea has reported that the country’s inflation in January has risen to its highest level in three months, surprising economists. According to the report, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in January increased by 5.2% compared to the same month the previous year, surpassing December’s 5.0% growth and the expected flat rate of 5.0%.
Additionally, the month-on-month CPI rose 0.8% in January, a significant increase from December’s 0.2% growth, and higher than the predicted 0.5% rise. The increase was driven by a rise in utilities prices by 4.6% from the previous month, a 6.2% increase in agricultural products, and a 2.8% decrease in petroleum product prices.
The core CPI, which excludes raw food and energy prices, increased 4.1% from a year earlier, remaining unchanged from December. This marked the first time in 13 months that the annual core inflation rate had fallen.
Recently released minutes from the Bank of Korea’s board meeting showed that at the policy meeting on January 13, most members were cautious about further rate hikes, despite the committee voting to raise interest rates by 0.25% to 3.50%.