South Korea inflation slows to 1.4% in December, lowest in four months


SEOUL — South Korea’s inflation rate slowed to a fourth-month low in December, government data showed Monday, giving the central bank more monetary room to help boost the economy. The consumer price index rose 1.4 percent from a year ago, dragged down by falling prices of key items including pork, childcare facilities, medicine and televisions, according to state-run Statistics Korea. The figure for this month — the lowest since August when it rose 1.2 percent — was well within the central bank’s target inflation rate of 2 to 4 percent.

From the previous month, inflation was up 0.2 percent in December. Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, rose 1.2 percent from a year ago, compared to a 1.3-percent rise posted last month, and was up 0.2 percent month-on-month. Bank of Korea policymakers left the key interest rate unchanged at 2.75 percent in a meeting earlier this month, after trimming it twice this year to boost a slowing economy. Asia’s fourth-largest economy expanded at the slowest pace in three years in the third quarter, prompting expectations of a further rate cut early next year.