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S Korea May inflation hits near 14-yr high, beats expectations

SEOUL :South Korea’s consumer inflation picked up more than expected in May to a near 14-year high on a global surge in materials and food costs, data showed on Friday, cementing the case for further interest rate raises.

The consumer price index (CPI) rose 5.4 per cent in May from a year before, the Statistics Korea data showed, speeding up from a 4.8 per cent rise the previous month and faster than 5.1 per cent tipped in a Reuters poll.

It even topped the highest forecast of 5.2 per cent in the survey and was the fastest annual growth since August 2008, while standing above the central bank’s 2 per cent target for a 14th consecutive month.

“We don’t expect interest rates to be raised faster because of today’s figures, but the central bank will need to keep the tightening stance while watching for any sign of inflation peaking out around July,” said Kong Dong-rak, an economist at Daishin Securities, who expects the central bank to…

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