SEOUL, March 21 (Korea Bizwire) – Commodity prices continued to move up in recent weeks amid rising crude oil prices and the outbreak of the avian influenza, industry sources said Tuesday.
Consumer prices rose 1.9 percent in February from a year earlier with comparable figures for January standing at 2 percent.
The Bank of Korea has set its long-term target inflation at 2 percent with the country’s consumer prices having failed to meet the goal for the past few years.
Prices of gasoline and petrochemical products jumped 13.3 percent last month from a year earlier. The figure is the highest since November 2011 at 16 percent.
Surging oil prices prompted prices of manufactured goods to gain 2.4 percent last month from the previous year, the highest since September 2012 at 3.3 percent.
Transportation costs rose 6 percent last month from a year earlier, the highest increase since December 2012, when numbers jumped 6.3 percent.
Several budget carriers have joined the price hikes for domestic flights in the past weeks, with Jin Air, owned by South Korea’s largest flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co., marking up fares for domestic flights by 5 percent. Tway Air Co. adjusted fares up by 11 percent, Eastar Jet followed with 10.6 percent, with Air Busan Co. and Jeju Air hiking fares by upwards of 6.7 percent and 11 percent, respectively.’
Prices of chicken and eggs began rising again recently as imports were halted from the United States and Spain.
“Chicken imports from the United States and Spain have been halted as avian influenza outbreaks were reported in the two countries last month,” an industry source said. “Demand has grown rapidly as schools began providing meals to students after the opening of the spring semester.”
Prices of chicken surged to the highest level recently in three decades as more than 33 million poultry were culled following the nationwide outbreak of bird flu late last year.
The price of a package of 30 eggs rose to 7,299 won (US$6.50) as of Monday, up 30 percent from a year earlier, according to data by the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp.
The producer prices of chicken rose to 2,200 won early this month, up from 1,800 won late last month.
It will take about six months for the stabilization of chicken prices, a source said, noting the time it takes for chicken farms to have their eggs hatched and raise the bird for the market.’
About half of the country’s 1,500 chicken farms have yet to secure chicks to raise as they were banned from doing so by quarantine authorities over concerns of the bird flu spreading again.
Prices of vegetables and fruits have also surged steadily due to the spring drought.
Napa cabbage prices rose 35.4 percent to 4,089 won per unit as of Thursday from a year earlier.
Cabbage prices climbed 76.4 percent to 5,101 won per unit from the previous year.
The prices of radish also jumped 68.5 percent to 2,240 won.
The prices of some cosmetics, meanwhile, rose up to 6 percent recently from the previous year.
“Some cosmetics brands recently began raising prices citing surging raw material costs,” a cosmetics industry source said. “Others are likely to follow suit sooner or later.”