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S. Korea to consider extending fuel tax cuts

All News 10:05 February 18, 2022

SEOUL, Feb. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to consider extending fuel tax cuts as the country's inflationary pressure is growing amid surging energy costs, a senior government official said Friday.

The government cut fuel taxes by a record 20 percent on Nov. 12 in a bid to tame inflationary pressure. The measure will be in effect until April 30.

"Inflation is expected to be tough as well in February as demand-pull price pressure remains high and energy and raw material prices have continued to rise," First Vice Finance Minister Lee Eog-weon said at a government meeting on inflation.

In January, consumer prices rose 3.6 percent from a year ago, compared with a 3.7 percent on-year gain in December last year. Consumer inflation grew more than 3 percent for the fourth straight month. The Bank of Korea aims to keep annual inflation at 2 percent over the medium term.

Tensions between Russia and the U.S. over Ukraine have driven up already high oil prices. Russia is one of the largest oil producers.

Dubai crude, South Korea's benchmark, soared to $93.05 per barrel Tuesday, up from $77.12 at the end of last year. South Korea depends mainly on imports for its energy needs.

The government said it will also closely monitor hikes in prices of processed foods and dining out in a bid to curb inflation.

Starting next week, the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp. plans to make public menu prices of major 12 food items sold by top franchises brands every week.

A consumer protection agency will also look into delivery fees charges by food delivery app operators every month and unveil detailed information. Hikes in delivery fees are partly blamed for the latest rise in prices of dining out.

This photo, taken Feb. 13, 2022, shows information of gas prices put up at a filling station in Seoul. (Yonhap)

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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