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South Korea Inflation Softens to One-Year Low of 4.2% in March

South Korea Inflation Softens to One-Year Low of 4.2% in March

Finance Today - South Korea's consumer inflation eased to a one-year low in March, coming in slightly below economists' expectations, official data showed on Tuesday.

The consumer price index was 4.2% higher in March than a year earlier, compared with gains of 4.8% in February and a 4.3% forecast in a Reuters survey.

It was the slowest annual rise since March 2022.

The index rose 0.2% on a monthly basis, after a 0.3% rise in the previous month, according to the Statistics Korea. It matched economists' expectation for a 0.2% rise.

The softening comes as worries about the global banking sector and local economic prospects have prompted investors to increase their bets that the South Korean central bank's tightening cycle is over.

A breakdown of the data showed prices of petroleum products were 14.2% lower than a year before, leading to the slowing inflation in March. Livestock products also fell 1.5%.

The finance ministry and central bank had predicted inflation would keep heading downward after the settlement of supply disruptions for some materials and the cooling in demand following aggressive interest-rate hikes globally.

The data comes a week before the April 11 policy meeting of the Bank of Korea, whose pause in late February after a year of successive interest rate hikes was widely taken as suggesting the end of its tightening cycle.

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