South Korea consumer sentiment drops on worries about food inflation

By Thomson Reuters Mar 25, 2024 | 7:39 PM

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s consumer sentiment dropped in March on growing worries about higher agricultural prices, a central bank survey showed on Tuesday, two weeks ahead of the country’s legislative election.

The consumer sentiment index fell to 100.7 in March from 101.9 in February, posting the biggest monthly drop since October, in the Bank of Korea’s monthly survey of consumers.

The fall came as consumers’ inflation expectations for the next 12 months rose for the first time in five months, to 3.2% from 3.0%.

In the survey, 63.4% of respondents said agricultural prices would drive inflation in the next 12 months, sharply up from 51.5% in the previous month.

South Korea’s consumer inflation accelerated in February, after three months of easing, due to supply-side pressures, mostly from higher agricultural prices.

(Reporting by Jihoon Lee, Editing Michael Perry)