S. Korea to boost supplies of farm products to ease inflation amid Israel-Hamas war

SEOUL, Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho said Tuesday that the government will extend supplies of cabbage, sea salt and other major farm products to tame inflation and support the people's livelihood amid growing inflationary pressure caused by the conflict in the Middle East.

"As the Israel-Hamas conflict goes on, global oil prices have fluctuated and uncertainty in prices has deepened," Choo said during a meeting with relevant ministers to discuss ways to stabilize prices.

"Prices of agricultural products have not been stabilized due to the cold weather this month. The government will make all-out efforts to closely monitor and respond to prices," he added.

Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho, who doubles as the deputy prime minister for economic affairs, presides over an emergency economic meeting at the government complex in Seoul on Oct. 16, 2023. (Yonhap)

The government will extend supplies of cabbage over the next two weeks in the run-up to the annual kimchi-making season.

Cabbage is a key ingredient of kimchi, and the annual traditional of "gimjang" usually takes place from November to December as people make large amounts of kimchi as part of preparations for the cold winter.

The government will give a 50 percent discount on 1,000 tons of sea salt starting the end of this month, and will provide rice, apples and other major products at lower prices.

It plans to push for adopting tariff-rate quotas on imported fruits and dried milk powder, among other items, and to introduce a quota on imports of mackerel within the month.

The tariff-rate quota is a system under which products are imported with favorable duty conditions within a designated volume.

The government also said earlier that it will extend the tax cut on fuel consumption, set to expire this month, through the end of this year.

Oil prices have fluctuated since the onset of the clash between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas earlier this month on concerns about its fallout and the possibility of a wider conflict in the region.

The government has forecast price pressures would begin to ease starting around October, though consumer prices reported the highest on-year increase of 3.7 percent in five months in September.

South Korea set this year's target at a 3.3 percent rise, while the figure during the first nine months of 2023 came to 3.7 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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