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S. Korean inflation expected to stay high

SEOUL, May 28 (UPI) -- Soaring oil prices and a weak won may keep South Korea's inflation this year higher than the central bank's 3.5 percent target, a bank official said Wednesday.

Speaking to business leaders about the outlook in the second half of the year, Lee Jong-geon, head of the Bank of Korea's survey team, said, "This year, consumer prices are expected to remain far above (the bank's) upper limit of 3.5 percent," Yonhap news agency reported.

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His assessment comes at a time when some expect the central bank to cut interest rate if oil prices stabilize.

The country's inflation was 4.1 percent in April, a four-year high. The April rate was the sixth consecutive month inflation was more than the bank's target, the report said.

Earlier this month the central bank governor said this year 's economic growth was expected to be slower than the 4.7 percent the bank had predicted.

"The pace of recovery in private consumption is likely to weaken because of a higher jobless rate and worsening trade terms," Lee said.

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