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Aug. 3, 2020, 9:20 p.m. EDT

South Korea's inflation slowly grows in July

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By Kwanwoo Jun

South Korea's headline inflation accelerated at a slower-than-expected pace in July, still remaining well below the central bank's 2% annual target.

The benchmark consumer-price index gained 0.3% from a year earlier, after being flat in June, said the country's statistical office Tuesday. The latest reading missed market expectations for a 0.4% increase.

The softer-than-expected July print came as pandemic-induced business lockdowns still weighed on price growth.

Compared with the prior month, the index remained flat in July, following the previous month's 0.2% increase.

Core CPI, which strips out volatile energy and food prices, gained 0.4% from a year ago in July, faster than the prior month's pace of 0.2% growth. From a month ago, it rose 0.3% after being flat in June.

The Bank of Korea expects inflation to average 0.3% this year, compared with a record low of 0.4% in 2019.

Inflation averaged 1.5% in 2018.

Write to Kwanwoo Jun at kwanwoo.jun@wsj.com

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