SEOUL, July 1 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's consumer price inflation hit the highest in 20 months as the low base of last year continued to boost consumer prices this year, a government report showed Tuesday.
According to Statistics Korea, consumer prices gained 1.7 percent on year in June, the highest since October 2012 when the prices increased 2.1 percent.
The consumer price inflation bottomed at 1 percent in February, before rising to 1.3 percent in March, 1.5 percent in April and 1. 7 percent in May.
The headline inflation hovered below the Bank of Korea (BOK)'s inflation target band of 2.5-3.5 percent for a long time, but the headline inflation kept an upward trend due to the low base effect of last year.
In 2013, the consumer price inflation stayed low due to policy effects such as free childcare and free school meal.
From a month earlier, the consumer prices fell 0.1 percent in June, the first decline this year. The monthly inflation stood at 0.5 percent in January, 0.3 percent in February, 0.2 percent in March, 0.1 percent in April and 0.2 percent in May.
The monthly fall was attributable to lower prices of agricultural and oil products, which declined 4.1 percent and 0.9 percent in June from a month earlier.
Core consumer prices, which exclude volatile agricultural and oil products, gained 2.1 percent in June from a year earlier. From a month earlier, the core prices rose 0.1 percent.
The OECD-method core consumer prices, excluding food and energy prices, climbed 1.7 percent on year in June. From a month earlier, the prices were unchanged.
The so-called livelihood prices, which reflect costs of key daily necessities, advanced 1.4 percent on year in June, but fresh food prices, which gauge prices of vegetable and fruit, tumbled 7. 7 percent last month.
Prices for agricultural, livestock and fishery products dipped 1 percent in June from a year earlier. Prices for onion, napa cabbage and red pepper powder plunged 43.4 percent, 36.5 percent and 21.6 percent each, but those for pork and beef jumped 20.6 percent and 8.1 percent respectively last month.
Industrial goods prices, which led the last month's gain in headline inflation, climbed 1.9 percent on a yearly basis. Prices for milk, women's overcoat and bags surged 11.5 percent, 8.9 percent and 11.3 percent each.
Service prices, which represent demand-side inflationary pressures along with the industrial goods prices, gained 1.6 percent on year in June. From a month earlier, the prices showed no change.
Public service prices rose 0.7 percent in June from a year earlier, with charges for outpatient clinic and sewerage gaining 2 percent and 12.4 percent each. Private service prices added 1.8 percent on higher prices for apartment administration and beauty services.
Utility prices jumped 4.2 percent on year in June as the government raised public utility costs to contain a surge in debts among public corporations. Prices for city gas and electricity increased 6.5 percent and 2.7 percent each, with district heating charges jumping 5 percent last month.