S. Korea inflation slows to 1.4%

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.

A South Korean woman walks past a commercial sign at a shopping district in Seoul on December 30, 2011. 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.

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