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Dec. 1, 2020, 10:13 p.m. EST

South Korea's inflation slowly rises in November

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By Kwanwoo Jun

South Korea's headline inflation picked up at a slower-than-expected pace in November, still remaining well below the central bank's 2.0% annual target.

The benchmark consumer-price index gained 0.6% from a year earlier, compared with October's 0.1% pace of growth, the statistical office said Wednesday. The latest reading missed the median forecast of seven economists polled by The Wall Street Journal for a 0.9% increase.

The inflation gained pace as the effects of government relief funds, which helped households pay phone bills amid the coronavirus pandemic, tapered off, the office said.

But broader inflationary pressures still remained weak as pandemic-induced business lockdowns weighed on price growth.

Compared with the prior month, the index fell 0.1% in November after the prior month's 0.6% decrease. The latest reading was below the median forecast for a 0.2% rise.

Core CPI, which strips out volatile energy and food prices, rose 0.6% from a year ago, compared with a 0.3% fall in October. It also gained 0.6% from a month ago after the previous month's 0.7% decline.

The Bank of Korea expects the headline inflation to average 0.5% this year and 1.0% next year.

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

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