SEOUL, May 1 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s consumer prices are estimated to have grown more than 2 percent in April due to a lower base effect and rising prices of farm and oil products, according to a poll Saturday.
Consumer prices are projected to have risen 2.22 percent on-year in April, accelerating from a 1.5 percent on-year gain in March, according to the poll on five local brokerage houses by Yonhap Infomax, the financial news arm of Yonhap News Agency.
Such an inflation rate would mark the first time since November 2018 that it has grown above 2 percent on-year.
“Upward pressure on consumer prices are expected to continue into the second quarter as the base effect, driven by the pandemic, will be felt,” said Jun Kyu-yeon, an economist at Hana Financial Investment.
In April last year, the consumer prices grew just 0.1 percent from the previous year due largely to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and a sharp fall in oil prices.
Last year, the consumer prices grew 0.5 percent on-year, but they are under upward pressure as the Korean economy is on a recovery track on the back of robust exports.
Experts said inflation is expected to temporarily pick up in the second quarter, affected by gains in prices of farm and oil products.
Policymakers said despite increased price pressure, the annual consumer inflation is not expected to top 2 percent.
Last month, the Bank of Korea (BOK) froze its key interest rate at a record low of 0.5 percent amid concerns about another wave of infections. The bank aims to keep annual inflation at 2 percent over the medium term.