Producer prices up for 4th month in March on high prices of farm, industrial goods

SEOUL, South Korea’s producer prices rose for the fourth consecutive month in March, driven in part by soaring prices of agricultural goods and industrial goods, central bank data showed Tuesday.

The producer price index, a major barometer of consumer inflation, increased 0.2 percent in March from a month earlier, following 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent on-month gains, respectively, in February and January, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

On a yearly basis, the index rose 1.6 percent after a 1.5 percent on-year gain the previous month.

The rise is blamed on a 1.3 percent increase in agricultural products and a 0.6 percent advance in prices of industrial goods.

Producer prices are one of the key indicators that determine the trajectory of inflation, as they influence the prices that businesses charge to consumers in the months ahead.

South Korea’s inflation stayed over 3 percent for the second consecutive month in March on record prices of fruit and rising global oil prices.

Consumer prices, a key gauge of inflation, rose 3.1 percent on-year last month, following a 3.2 percent increase the previous month, according to the data from Statistics Korea.

The country’s central bank froze its key rate for the 10th straight session at 3.5 percent early this month amid slower-than-expected inflation moderation.

The rate freezes came after the BOK delivered seven consecutive rate hikes from April 2022 to January 2023.

Source: Yonhap News Agency