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Nat'l consumer inflation up 4.7 pct in Q1

Economy 12:00 May 22, 2023

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, May 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's nationwide consumer prices advanced 4.7 percent on-year in the first quarter of this year due to higher electricity, gas and water costs, data showed Monday.

By region, consumer prices in Gangwon Province moved up 5.2 percent on-year in the January-March period, followed by Gwangju, 267 kilometers south of Seoul, with a 5 percent rise, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

The central city of Sejong posted the lowest growth of 4.4 percent in consumer prices, followed by its neighboring Daejeon with 4.5 percent. The growth in Seoul came to 4.8 percent over the period.

People shop for groceries at a supermarket in southern Seoul on May 21, 2023. (Yonhap)

People shop for groceries at a supermarket in southern Seoul on May 21, 2023. (Yonhap)

The agency attributed the overall growth to higher utility costs amid the soaring global energy costs, which jumped 28.4 percent on-year in the January-March period. Prices of dining out and processed foodstuffs also jumped 7.5 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively.

The national mining and manufacturing output, meanwhile, fell 9.7 percent on-year nationwide due to sluggish outputs from the chips, electric parts and chemical product industries.

It was the sharpest decrease since a 15.1 percent drop tallied in the first quarter of 2009.

The production from Gangwon Province and Daegu, 237 kilometers southeast of Seoul, moved up 8.6 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively, on the back of the gas, machinery and automobile sectors.

Those from Gyeonggi Province and Seoul, on the other hand, slipped 23.4 percent and 15.3 percent, respectively, over the period due to the weak chip productions.

Nationwide retail sales edged down 0.3 percent on-year in the first quarter, following weaker sales at duty-free shops and supermarkets.

Sales moved down 5.8 percent on the southern resort island of Jeju, and those in Incheon, 27 kilometers west of Seoul, slid 4.7 percent.

The employment-to-population ratio came to 61.2 percent nationwide in the first quarter, with the figure in Jeju falling 0.9 percentage point on-year, while those in Sejong and the southeastern industrial city of Ulsan moved up 1.8 percentage points and 1.6 percentage points, respectively.


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