S.Korea to monitor prices of farm products ahead of Lunar New Year

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South Korea plans to closely monitor prices of major agricultural, livestock and fishery goods starting next week in a bid to help stabilise inflationary pressure ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, a senior government official said on Friday.

The government will monitor the price movements of 17 items that are mainly used for holiday preparation meals, including napa cabbage, beef, eggs and rice, Yonhap News Agency quoted First Vice Finance Minister Lee Eog-weon as saying.

Next year’s Lunar New Holiday runs from January 31 to February 2.

Demand for vegetables, eggs and other foodstuffs usually rises in South Korea ahead of the traditional holiday as people prepare meals for family gatherings.

The move comes as South Korea faces a build-up in inflationary pressure amid rising prices of farm and oil products and the economic recovery.

The country’s consumer prices rose 3.7 per cent in November from a year earlier, the fastest on-year gain in a decade. The November reading was higher than a 3.2 per cent on-year increase in October.

The government said it will resume the import of eggs in a bid to help stabilise prices amid the outbreak of bird flu. The country will import 30 million eggs from the US this month.

It plans to extend a temporary removal of tariffs on imported eggs by another six months until June next year.

The government will apply zero duties on 100 million eggs or egg products per month from the previous 8-30 per cent.

The country also plans to reserve napa cabbage, the main ingredient for making kimchi, to brace for potentially bad weather in the winter.

It will import 10,000 tonnes of garlic as its prices remained high due to a fall in production.

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