South Korea's annual inflation rate eased to 1.3 percent in December of 2018 from 2.0 percent in the previous month and below market expectations of 1.7 percent. It was the lowest inflation rate since March, amid a softer rise in cost of housing & utilities and food while transport prices declined.
Year-on-year, prices rose slower for housing and utilities (1.3 percent vs 1.6 percent in November); food and non-alcoholic beverages (4.2 percent vs 5.4 percent); clothing and footwear (0.5 percent vs 0.9 percent); recreation and culture (0.8 percent vs 1.5 percent); furnishing, household equipment & routine maintenance (2.0 percent vs 2.4 percent); and alcoholic beverages and tobacco (0.1 percent vs 0.3 percent). In addition, transport prices declined (-0.9 percent from 2.6 percent) while cost of health dropped at a faster pace (-0.3 percent vs -0.2 percent). On the other hand, prices went up faster for restaurant and hotels (3.1 percent vs 2.5 percent) while inflation was steady for both miscellaneous goods and services (at 0.9 percent) and education (at 1.5 percent). Meantime, cost of communication continued to fall (-1.9 percent, the same pace as in November).
Core CPI, which excludes oil and agricultural products, increased by 1.1 percent, after a 1.2 percent rise in November.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices declined 0.3 percent, following a 0.7 percent fall in November, missing market consensus of a 0.1 percent increase.
12/31/2018 3:38:21 AM