Thursday, June 20, 2024

Korea’s consumer sentiment remains flat in April amid rising prices and high rates

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Shoppers browse products at a supermarket in Seoul, April 23. Yonhap

Korea’s consumer sentiment remained unchanged in April amid high inflation and market rates, a central bank poll showed Wednesday.

The composite consumer sentiment index stood at 100.7 this month, unchanged from the previous month, according to the survey conducted by the Bank of Korea (BOK).

A reading above 100 means optimists outnumber pessimists.

The central bank said consumer sentiment remained flat amid a rise in prices of agricultural goods and high interest rates.

Inflation expectations fell this month.

This month, ordinary people expect consumer prices to rise 3.1 percent for the year ahead, compared with the previous month’s 3.2 percent.

The figures are closely watched, as their upward move could cause businesses to raise prices and people to ask for pay raises, thereby resulting in more upward pressure on inflation going forward.

Korea’s inflation stayed over 3 percent for the second consecutive month last month 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.

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. (Yonhap)

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