South Korea's consumer prices slowed to a record low in 2019 amid a slowdown in Asia's fourth-largest economy dogged by a protracted slump in exports and weak domestic demand, government data showed Tuesday.
According to the data compiled by Statistics Korea, the country's inflation gained 0.4 percent this year, marking the slowest since 1966, when the agency began to compile related data.
Consumer prices have shown weaker growth this year with consumer demand slowing as the nation's economy is expected to report its weakest annual growth for this year in a decade.
Last year, consumer prices grew 1.5 percent on-year.
Slowing inflation may give the Bank of Korea (BOK) more room to hold off raising interest rates.
Exports fell for a 12th consecutive month in November, and inflation has stayed far below the BOK's target of 2 percent.
Last month, the BOK, which cut its key interest rate two times this year, kept its rate at a record low of 1.25 percent.
The BOK also slashed its growth forecast for this year from 2.2 percent to 2 percent, as the nation's economy is struggling with the impact of a U.S.-China trade war.
The data also showed that consumer prices rose at the fastest pace in six months this month, because of higher prices of agricultural and industrial goods, but its annual inflation rate was at a record low.
Consumer prices gained 0.7 percent on-year in December and also climbed 0.2 percent this month from a month earlier.
The December reading was above the market's expectation. A survey of seven financial institutions by Yonhap Infomax, the financial news arm of Yonhap News Agency, expected consumer prices to rise 0.59 percent on-year in December.
Core inflation, which excludes agricultural and petroleum products, rose 0.7 percent from a year earlier. (Yonhap)