South Korea’s headline inflation accelerated in February to top 3% for a fifth consecutive month, bolstering the case for the central bank to tighten policy.
The benchmark consumer-price index rose 3.7% from a year earlier, compared with January’s 3.6% gain, the statistical office said Friday. That beat the median forecast of seven economists polled by The Wall Street Journal for a 3.5% increase for February.
Compared with the prior month, the index rose 0.6% in February–the same pace of growth in January. That was above the median forecast of a 0.5% gain.
Core CPI, which strips out volatile energy and food prices, rose 2.9% from a year earlier following January’s 2.6% gain. It rose 0.4% from a month ago, a softer pace than 0.6% in January.
Inflation in South Korea remained above the central bank’s 2% target for an 11th straight month.
Higher oil and other raw material prices amid global supply bottlenecks and the war in Ukraine kept adding to inflationary pressure at home.
The Bank of Korea last week raised its inflation forecast to 3.1% for 2022, sharply up from its earlier projection of 2.0%. Inflation averaged 2.5% in 2021.