Korea launches a pan-government task force on price inflation of everyday items

A customer shops at a major discount chain in Seoul, May 2.  Yonhap

A customer shops at a major discount chain in Seoul, May 2. Yonhap

The government on Friday launched a task force charged with monitoring and managing stocks and prices of fresh food and other everyday items as part of efforts to curb still high inflation, the finance ministry said.

The launch of the new entity came as inflationary pressures remain high in South Korea, mainly due to high prices for fruits and other agricultural products, as well as energy, amid adverse weather conditions and volatility in global oil prices.

The task force will monitor retail prices of key items, devise measures to reform logistics structures and ensure stable prices, in close cooperation between relevant ministries.

“We will intensify efforts to control prices of items that affect people’s daily lives until we reach the 2 percent target,” the ministry said in a press release.

The government plans to reduce tariffs on certain fruit and vegetable imports and increase the release of government reserves for agricultural products.

It has asked companies to join these efforts in view of the recent extension of fuel tax cuts and reduction in tariff quotas on imported raw materials, the ministry said.

In April, consumer prices, a key gauge of inflation, fell below 3 percent for the first time in three months, reaching 2.9 percent, but fresh food prices rose 1.91 percent year-on-year, driven by high-flying fruit prices. (Yonhap)