South Korea Dec. inflation up, but 2019 rate tumbles to record low

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FILE PHOTO: A street vendor counts his money at the Namdaemun Market in Seoul, South Korea, May 30, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

December 30, 2019

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s consumer prices rose 0.7% in December from a year earlier, much faster than in the previous month and just a notch above the market’s expectations, official data showed on Tuesday.

Compared with a month earlier, the consumer price index rose 0.2% in December, the data from Statistics Korea showed.

The median forecast from a Reuters survey was for the index to rise 0.6% in December on-year, up from a 0.2% gain in November, and by 0.1% on-month, compared with a 0.6% fall.

The average consumer inflation rate for the whole year fell to 0.4% from 1.5% in 2018, marking the lowest since South Korea began releasing such data in 1966.

But the reading was in line with the central bank’s estimate of 0.4% for this year, which it revised downward in November from a 0.7% projection made in July, underscoring a high chance of further policy easing in 2020.

(Reporting by Joori Roh; Editing by Choonsik Yoo, Kim Coghill)

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