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Korea to temporarily cut fuel taxes amid rising oil prices

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Pump jacks operate in front of a drilling rig in an oil field in Midland, Texas, Aug. 22, 2018. The Korean government is planning to temporarily cut fuel taxes amid surging oil prices, a senior official said Friday. Reuters-Yonhap
Pump jacks operate in front of a drilling rig in an oil field in Midland, Texas, Aug. 22, 2018. The Korean government is planning to temporarily cut fuel taxes amid surging oil prices, a senior official said Friday. Reuters-Yonhap

South Korea plans to temporarily cut fuel taxes in a bid to ease upward pressure on inflation amid surging oil prices, a senior government official said Friday.

First Vice Finance Minister Lee Eog-weon also said the government plans to additionally cut import tariffs on liquid natural gas (LNG), currently at 2 percent, as part of efforts to ease people's burdens on a hike in energy costs.

"The government will unveil details about fuel tax cuts, including the timing and the scope, next week," Lee said at a government meeting.

Oil prices have been on the rise amid the global economic recovery.

Prices of Dubai crude, South Korea's benchmark, neared $84 per barrel this month, up from an average of $72.63 in September.

The country's consumer prices rose 2.5 percent on-year in September and inflation growth is likely to exceed 3 percent in October due to last year's low base.

Consumer inflation grew more than 2 percent for the sixth straight month last month due largely to high prices of farm and oil products.

The government lowered fuel taxes for six months starting November 2018 in a bid to help stabilize domestic gasoline prices. The measures ended in August 2019 after being extended for several rounds.

South Korea depends on imports for its energy needs. Taxes account for around 40 percent of local gasoline prices. (Yonhap)




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