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Korea's consumer prices in Sept. grow at slowest pace in 14 yrs

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SEJONG, Oct. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's consumer prices grew at the slowest pace in 14 years in September, affected by falls in costs of farming products, a government report showed Tuesday.

The country's consumer price index rose 0.8 percent on-year in September, decelerating from a 1.3 percent gain tallied in the previous month, according to the report by Statistics Korea.

The September figure marked the slowest on-year consumer price growth since September 1999 when it also rose 0.8 percent.

The core inflation, which excludes volatile oil and food prices, increased 1.6 percent on-year in September. From a month earlier, it grew 0.4 percent, the report showed.

The "livelihood price" index, which measures the costs of key daily necessities, inched down 0.1 percent from a year earlier and fell 0.2 percent from a month earlier, the report showed.

Prices of fresh food, including fruits and vegetables, also fell 7.8 percent on-year in September and declined 2.2 percent from the same month a year earlier.

"In September last year, prices of agricultural products spiked due to damage caused by typhoons but climate conditions got better this year for farming goods, pushing down the overall consumer prices," a statistics agency official said.

The slowing consumer price growth comes as South Korea's economy is going through a prolonged low growth trend, though it shows some signs of picking up in recent months.

The country's gross domestic product advanced 1.1 percent in the second quarter from three months earlier, quickening from a 0.8 percent on-quarter advance in the first quarter. This is the first time that the growth rate surpassed 1 percent in nine quarters.

In drawing up its 2014 budget proposal recently, the government forecast that the economy will grow 2.7 percent this year and 3.9 percent next year, respectively.

The government predicted that the country's consumer prices will grow 1.7 percent this year and the growth rate will rise to 2.8 percent next year.

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