Now it’s time for On Point, where we speak to experts to delve deeper into the biggest news stories in the spotlight right now.
Countries around the world are saddled with rampant inflation and rising prices at the pump.
South Korea is suffering from the same issues.
Consumer prices in South Korea jumped more than two percent for the sixth month in a row in September and growth in the third quarter was underwhelming,… to say the least.
Also on Tuesday, South Korean officials said fuel taxes will be slashed by a record 20 percent for half a year from November in a bid to cope with skyrocketing energy prices.
For a closer look, we connect to Steven Borowiec, who is a writer, journalist and broadcaster based in Seoul.
As Mark mentioned, inflation and high gasoline prices aren’t problems exclusive to South Korea. This is happening worldwide. Since three major catalysts are outside South Korea’s control - namely OPEC’s decisions on oil production,… the Federal Reserve’s hints about tapering… and the pandemic - is there much officials at the national level can do at this point to keep a lid on inflation?
Let’s get your take on the decision to slash gasoline, diesel and LPG taxes. Considering it was a cut of 20 percent - a record deduction - does this suggest that, behind closed doors, South Korean officials are deeply worried this could spin out of control and derail any hope of a post-pandemic recovery?
Earlier this week, President Moon Jae-in was at the National Assembly to urge lawmakers to approve his administration’s record 520 billion U.S. dollar budget for 2022. How will rising prices impact the president’s big spending proposals and how are they proposing to pay for this? Is it through higher taxes? More debt?
Finally, getting back to oil prices. Many nations are looking at a double whammy - rising energy prices and a rallying U.S. dollar, which crude oil is denominated in. Do you think policymakers are concerned this is a perfect storm that could tip economies like South Korea’s into a full blown recession?
Thanks, Steven. Great to speak with you again. That was Steven Borowiec a Seoul-based journalist, on the rising inflation and spiking gasoline prices we are experiencing in South Korea.