Saturday, December 10

S. Korea’s Sept annual inflation slows for second straight month

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SEOUL — South Korea’s consumer inflation slowed in September, data showed on Wednesday, a week before the central bank’s policy meeting and amid growing talk of a bigger-than-usual interest rate increase.

The consumer price index (CPI) rose 5.6% in September from the same month a year ago, according to the Statistics Korea data, slowing for the second straight month. In August, inflation cooled to 5.7%, the first slowdown in seven months.

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September’s reading was the slowest rate in four months and slightly below economists’ median forecast for 5.7%, although predictions ranged widely.

CPI rose 0.3% on a monthly basis, slower than a 0.4% gain seen in a Reuters poll but rebounding from 0.1% decline in the previous month.

The core consumer price index, which strips off volatile food and energy prices, fell month-on-month for the first time in a year although its annual rate accelerated to 4.1% from 4.0% in August. (Reporting by Choonsik Yoo and Jihoon Lee ; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Sam Holmes)