South Korea unveils $625 million in steps to fight “emergency” inflation situation

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A woman shops at an underground shopping district in the Gangnam area of Seoul

SEOUL – South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said on Friday the current economic conditions constituted an emergency situation and ordered his government to devise all available measures to ease the burden on people’s livelihoods.

“It’s an emergency situation now. Please devise all available measures to counter,” the situation, a media pool report provided by the presidential office quoted him as saying at the first weekly emergency meeting of economy-related officials.

Shortly after the meeting, the government unveiled measures valued at some 810 billion won ($624.84 million) to help ease people’s living costs, including removal of tariffs on some food imports and increased welfare support for low-income earners.

Import tariffs will be removed on beef and chicken and pork imports – on which tariffs have already been removed – will be increased, measures valued at some 330 billion won for the rest of this year.

Another 480 billion won of measures announced on Friday include increased welfare and job-related support for low-income earners and other aid programmes, bringing the total at 810 billion won.

The country’s inflation last month hit the highest since the late 1990s Asian financial crisis, prompting economists to boost bets on the central bank delivering an unprecedented 50 basis-point raise in the policy interest rate at next week’s meeting.

($1 = 1,296.3400 won)

(Reporting by Choonsik Yoo; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Neil Fullick)

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