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(LEAD) S. Korea's consumer prices up 2 pct in May

All Headlines 08:32 June 01, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS more info from 6th para)

SEJONG, June 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's consumer prices continued their upbeat mode to touch the 2 percent level in May on high-flying oil and livestock prices, government data showed Thursday.

The country's consumer price index gained 2 percent last month from a year earlier, slightly up from the previous month's 1.9 percent rise, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

Consumer prices have been hovering around 2 percent since the first month of 2017 due to a sharp gain in oil prices, following a 1.3 percent on-year gain in December last year.

From a month earlier, the index edged up 0.1 percent in May.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile oil and food prices, increased 1.5 percent in May compared with last year.

(LEAD) S. Korea's consumer prices up 2 pct in May - 1

The statistics office said rising meat and egg prices contributed to the recent upward trend of consumer prices.

Prices of livestock products rose 11.6 percent on-year in May, with those of egg surging 67.9 percent in the aftermath of an outbreak of avian influenza. Pork prices also jumped 12.2 percent on-year on rising demand in the spring season.

Moreover, a steady hike in petroleum prices pushed up consumer prices last month as prices of gasoline at the pump rose 7 percent last month and those of diesel vaulted 10.3 percent.

Food prices at restaurants and insurance fees added 2.4 percent on-year last month to lend support to the overall gain in consumer prices.

"Crude oil prices has been on a rise for nearly a year, although the upside pace has been slowing down to some extent," said Woo Young-jae, director of the price statistics division at the statistical bureau. "This month, livestock prices and private service charges also played a role in fueling inflation."

On the other hand, prices of vegetables fell 8.4 percent in May from a year earlier on an increased supply, while utility bills retreated 1.6 percent on an electricity price-cut program by the government.

"The upside trend of 2 percent inflation will likely continue further if there are no sudden ups and downs," the statistics office said.

brk@yna.co.kr
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