South Korea‘s Inflation Slows to Six-Month Low in April

By Kwanwoo Jun

South Korea‘s consumer inflation slowed to a six-month low in April, as the coronavirus pandemic suppressed consumer spending and weighed on price growth.

The benchmark consumer-price index edged up 0.1% from a year earlier–the slowest pace since October, 2019–after the prior month‘s 1.0% rise, the statistical office said Monday.

The latest reading missed the median forecast of seven economists polled by The Wall Street Journal for a 0.4% increase.

Lockdowns to contain the virus led consumers to spend less on travels, dining and other economic activities, the statistical office said.

Compared with the prior month, the CPI fell 0.6% in April, missing market expectations for a 0.2% decline. It fell 0.2% in March.

Core CPI, which strips out volatile energy and food prices, edged up 0.1% in April from a year earlier, slower than the 0.4% rise in March. On month, it fell 0.2%, the same pace as in March.

The Bank of Korea, which has set a 2% annual inflation target for 2020, has said that inflation may come in at 1% this year.

Inflation averaged 0.4% in 2019, significantly slower than 1.5% in 2018.

Write to Kwanwoo Jun at kwanwoo.jun

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