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Food Inflation Emerges As The Top Election Issue In South Korea

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Food Inflation Emerges As The Top Election Issue In South Korea

(CTN News) – Inflation hitting the dinner table has emerged as a major policy issue at next month’s elections, a central bank survey showed on Tuesday, which undermined consumer confidence in March.

In the Bank of Korea’s monthly survey of consumers, the consumer sentiment index fell to 100.7 in March from 101.9 in February, the largest monthly drop since October.

Inflation expectations among consumers have risen for the first time in five months, from 3.0% to 3.2%, according to the survey, with two-thirds citing increased produce prices as the primary driver of inflation.

According to the same question, 57.5% of respondents responded, an increase from 51.5% in the previous month.

As a result of supply-side pressure, primarily from higher agricultural prices, South Korea’s consumer inflation accelerated in February after three months of easing.

In part, experts attribute higher prices of agricultural products to poor weather, however, the opposition Democratic Party (DP) accuses President Yoon Suk Yeol’s administration of mismanaging the economy.

During a campaign rally held on Sunday in a major produce market, Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung stated that the economy is collapsing and prices are going through the roof.

The South Korean people will vote to elect a 300-member parliament, and Yoon’s conservative People Power Party will face a difficult challenge if it wishes to regain a majority held by the opposition.

Inflation shot into the headlines after Yoon picked up a bundle of green onions at a supermarket and said, “I think 875 won ($0.65) is a reasonable price”, not realizing the item was on sale and heavily subsidized by the government.

Yoon was criticized by opposition party members and consumer groups for being out of touch, when the same product normally retails for more than 4,000 won.

In response to Yoon’s order for “extraordinary measures” to control “shopping basket inflation,” the government appropriated 150 billion won to inject subsidies and increase supply through direct imports last week.

The government has also announced that tariffs on imported farm products will be temporarily reduced.

Recently, South Koreans were seen lining up at major grocery stores to purchase apples and green onions supplied at cheaper prices because of government subsidies, local media reported.


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Salman Ahmad is a seasoned writer for CTN News, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to the platform. With a knack for concise yet impactful storytelling, he crafts articles that captivate readers and provide valuable insights. Ahmad's writing style strikes a balance between casual and professional, making complex topics accessible without compromising depth.

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