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Gov't to prioritize stabilization of rising product prices

16:15 May 15, 2022

SEOUL, May 15 (Yonhap) -- Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho said Sunday the government will make it a top priority to stabilize rising product prices fueled by the Russia-Ukraine war and other external uncertainties.

The government will set up measures for price stabilization through consultations with related ministries as quickly as possible, the finance minister said in a meeting in Seoul.

"South Korea stands at a serious and urgent stage as the prolonged Russia-Ukraine war, major economies' monetary tightening policies and higher inflationary pressures are affecting its economy," he said.

The government said it will initially focus on stabilizing the prices of flour and diesel to help reduce consumer prices, which rose at the fastest pace in more than 13 years in April.

Consumer prices jumped 4.8 percent last month from a year earlier, accelerating from a 4.1 percent on-year gain in March. Most of last month's price gains were mainly driven by a hike in prices of petroleum products, according to Statistics Korea.

On May 11, the price of diesel outstripped that of gasoline for the first time in 14 years due to tight global supply stemming from the Russia-Ukraine war and recent fuel tax cuts.

The average diesel price at local gas stations stood at 1,947.60 won (US$1.53) per liter, 1.5 won higher than the gasoline's 1,946.10 won, according to Opinet, a website operated by the state-run Korea National Oil Corp. In South Korea, diesel is normally cheaper than gasoline.

It was the first time since June 2008 that the diesel price has outrun the gasoline price. The all-time high was at 1,947.75 won recorded on July 16, 2008.

A gas station in the central city of Daejeon, about 164 kilometers south of Seoul, shows the gasoline price (top) and diesel price (below), with the diesel price the higher of the two, in this photo taken on May 9, 2022. (Yonhap)



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