South Korea's consumer price growth stayed below the 1 percent threshold for the fifth consecutive month in May due mainly to expanded social welfare schemes that helped rein in a rise in service charges, government data showed Tuesday.
Consumer prices rose 0.7 percent in May from a year earlier, marking the lowest for any May since 2015, when the corresponding figure stood at 0.6 percent, according to Statistics Korea.
Kim Yun-sung, director at the agency's price statistics division, said increased welfare and free education, as well as the decline in prices of petroleum products are behind lower consumer prices.
Core inflation -- which excludes agricultural and petroleum products -- rose 0.8 percent from a year earlier. From a month earlier, the consumer price index rose 0.2 percent.
Prices of petroleum products fell 1.7 percent in May from a year earlier, while prices of agricultural, livestock and fishery products rose 1.2 percent in the same period, according to the data.
Utility prices rose 1.3 percent on-year last month, while prices of industrial goods edged up 0.3 percent, Statistics Korea said.
The agency also said prices of service charges increased 0.8 percent.(Yonhap)