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South Korea’s September Inflation Hits 3.7%, Highest in 5 Months

South Korea’s National Bureau of Statistics has reported a notable surge in inflation, with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) climbing to 3.7% in September compared to the same month in the previous year. This represents the most substantial increase in the past five months and can be attributed to rising oil prices and certain agricultural product costs.

The CPI in South Korea has demonstrated consistent growth, with September marking the third consecutive month of increases. August witnessed a 3.4% rise, while July experienced a 2.3% uptick in consumer prices.

When excluding the volatile food and energy prices, the core CPI also registered an increase, reaching 3.3% year-on-year for September, mirroring the figures from the preceding month of August.

Contributing significantly to the inflationary pressure were agricultural and fishery prices, which surged by 3.7% in September. Among these, apple prices saw a remarkable spike of 54.8%, while rice prices increased by 14.5% year-on-year. Additionally, gasoline prices rebounded by 1.9%.

The release of these inflation figures precedes the forthcoming monetary policy meeting of the South Korean central bank, scheduled in two weeks’ time, where an announcement regarding interest rates will be made. During its August meeting, the central bank opted to maintain its policy interest rate at 3.5%, marking the fifth consecutive instance of unchanged rates. The central bank has affirmed its commitment to closely monitoring the inflation trend as it considers the course of its monetary policies moving forward.

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