South Korea's consumer price growth hits 14-month low in February

South Korea's consumer price growth hit the 14-month low in February, alleviating concerns that high consumer price inflation may affect the overall economic recovery negatively, a government report showed Friday. Consumer prices advanced 3.1% in February from a year earlier, down from a 3.4% on-year rise tallied in the previous month, according to Statistics Korea.

From a month before, consumer prices grew 0.4% last month.

The headline inflation was the lowest since December 2010 when it recorded a 3.0% on-year gain, and stayed below the upper ceiling of the Bank of Korea (BOK)'s inflation target band of 2-4% for 2 straight months.

Core consumer prices, which exclude volatile agricultural and oil product prices, gained 2.5% on-year in February, down from a 3.2% on-year rise tallied in the previous month, while the newly adopted OECD-method core CPI, excluding food and energy prices, advanced 2.6% last month, up from a 2.5% on-year gain a month before. Despite a gain in energy and food prices, a fall in public service charges contributed to slower consumer price growth, the finance ministry said.

Prices of manufactured products jumped 4.7% on-year in February. Prices of petroleum products climbed 7.9% over the cited period as Global Crude Oil prices rose sharply on fears of supply disruptions that were triggered by confrontation between Tehran and Washington over the former's nuclear ambitions.

Prices for agricultural, fishery and livestock products rose 0.3% in February from the previous year, with agricultural and fishery product prices jumping 6.3 and 1.8% respectively. But, the livestock prices dropped 12% on-year in February, limiting the impact of supply-side inflationary pressures.

The fresh food price index, a gauge of fruits and vegetables, rose 0.4% on-year in February. Fruit prices soared 11.2% last month, but vegetable prices dropped 9.8%.

Service sector prices grew 2.5% in February from a year before. Prices for housing rental and private services gained 5.0% and 3.0% each, but public service charges fell 0.6%.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr. Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr. writes and publishes The Red Roadmaster's Technical Report on the US Major Market Indices, a weekly, highly-regarded financial market letter, read by opinion makers, business leaders and organizations around the world.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr has studied the global financial and stock markets since 1984, following a successful business career that included investment banking, and market and business analysis. He is a specialist in equities/commodities, and an accomplished chart reader who advises technicians with regard to Major Indices Resistance/Support Levels. www.livetradingnews.com