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Korea's producer prices fall for 15th straight month in Dec.


SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's producer prices declined for the 15th straight month in December as the local currency's ascent to the U.S. dollar cut import prices, the central bank said Monday.

The producer price index, a barometer of future consumer inflation, slid 0.4 percent in December from a year earlier, compared with a 0.9 percent on-year decline in November, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

On on-year growth basis, the producer prices have fallen every month since October 2012, when they fell 0.5 percent. Last year, the index fell 1.6 percent on-year.

The Korean won appreciated 1.92 percent to the greenback in December compared with the previous year, according to the central bank.

The subdued producer prices indicate that a low inflation trend may continue for the time being as the producer prices could be used to roughly predict the rate of change in prices in the coming months.

The data came as the BOK froze the key interest rate at 2.5 percent for the seventh straight month in January as the local economy has been showing signs of a moderate recovery amid tame inflation.

The central bank said earlier the growth of Korea's consumer prices is also likely to remain low for the time being due to stable agricultural prices but that it is forecast to gradually rise.

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