Korean Inflation Eases

Inflation in South Korea eased to the slowest pace since July 1999, adding to concern that prices could fall amid fragile demand at home and cheaper oil from abroad.

Consumer prices rose 0.4 percent in March from a year earlier, Statistics Korea said in a statement on Wednesday, matching the forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey. Core prices, which exclude oil and agricultural products, rose 2.1 percent.

Finance Minister Choi Kyung Hwan has said he’s worried about the risk of deflation while Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju Yeol has described concerns of falling prices as “excessive.” That didn’t stop the BOK last month joining more than two dozen other central banks in easing policy this year in the face of slowing inflation and growth.