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Price Hikes Frustrate Shoppers

Posted September. 30, 2003 22:51,   


Consumer prices have gone up for the past two months in a row in September since prices of agricultural products soared steeply in the wake of the Typhoon Maemi. The steepest price hikes are witnessed in Busan, which was swept by the Typhoon, among seven major cities of the nation.

According to the national Statistical Office (NSO)`yesterday, consumer prices increases 0.9% from August, due to rapid price hikes of produces including vegetables and fruits combined with housing rents on the rise.

Consumer prices have risen for the two consecutive months. They also grew by 3.3% compared with the same month of last year. Consequently, the average inflation turned to have increased by 3.6% over the same period of last year.

In particular, prices of agricultural products in September went up 10.5% from a month earlier, of which prices of vegetables skyrocketed 31.0%.

By items, prices of pumpkins grew 203.6% from August, which was the highest growth. The price growth rates for other items are: 91.8% for spinach, 67.2% for pears, 55.9% for scallions, and 54.2% for green onions.

Prices for stock farm and maritime products also rose 1.3% and 0.7% respectively owing to the rising demand in the run-up to Chusok celebrations, which in combination showed a 6.6% increase from the previous month.

Monthly housing rents remained steady, yet the deposit money for the lease of a house went up remarkably, thereby driving the growth rate of housing rents at large up by 0.3% from August. In the meantime, utility fares over all dropped by 0.1% with city gas bill sliding by 0.6%, despite a 0.8% rise in schooling fees.

By regions, the Typhoon-hit Busan suffered the highest price hikes at 1.1% out of the nation`s seven major cities including Seoul. Inflations in other major cities were 0.9% in Seoul and Inchon each, 0.8% in Daegu, 0.7% in Ulsan, and 0.6% in Daejeon and Gwangju each.

Jin-Hup Song jinhup@donga.com