SEOUL, May 10 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s top economic policymaker said Monday that the movement of housing prices and inflation should be closely monitored as they pose challenges to the improving economy.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki cited rising home prices, price hikes in daily necessities and deepening income disparity as three major risk factors that require close attention, according to the finance ministry.

Housing prices showed some signs of getting back on a rising track as sale prices of apartments in Seoul recently picked up on expectations for eased rules for redevelopment housing projects.

Consumer prices grew at the fastest pace in almost four years in April on higher prices of farm and oil products. Prices of daily necessities grew 2.8 percent on-year in April, the fastest in almost four years.

Meanwhile, Hong instructed his staff to swiftly prepare measures to help the country’s economy attain the 4-percent expansion target this year.

President Moon Jae-in said in a special address to mark his fourth inauguration anniversary that the government will make efforts to help Asia’s fourth-largest economy grow at least 4 percent this year.

The government plans to unveil its revised economic outlook for this year in mid-June. Hong earlier said the Korean economy may be able to grow at the rate of the mid-and-high 3 percent range in 2021.

Last year, the economy contracted 1 percent, marking the first retreat since the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

This photo, provided by the Ministry of Economy and Finance on May 10, 2021, shows Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki (C), presiding over an expanded meeting with senior ministry officials. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)