South Korea is feared to face a high level of inflation "for the time being," a senior economic policymaker said Tuesday, asserting that the government will continue its anti-inflation efforts to alleviate the suffering of working-class people. "Though many efforts have been made, inflation will likely continue to grow for the time being," Vice Finance Minister Yim Jong-yong told a weekly price stabilization meeting. "It is a fact that the burden of low and mid-income people increase (due to inflation growth). ... In the second half, we will continue to place top priority on price stability." The remarks underlined the urgency among policymakers here as the nation is gripped by a prolonged high level of prices that many experts fear could come as a drag on the nation''s economic recovery going forward, South Korea''s (Yonhap) reported. South Korea''s consumer prices jumped 4.1% in May from a year earlier, much higher than the government''s annual target of keeping inflation at around 3%. The government has unveiled diverse measures such as easing import taxes on basic goods, unloading its stockpiles of agricultural products and cracking down on price-rigging in the corporate sector that it fears could lead to a rise in consumer prices. Yim said that the government will intensify its oversight and crackdown on business malpractices such as price rigging that could result in unwarranted price hikes of consumer products. As for growing worries that oil prices at the pump could rise after refineries withdraw their temporary price cuts early next month, Yim said that the government will keep an eye on any business irregularities in a bid to minimize possible inconveniences among consumers. In April, the nation''s major refineries temporarily reduced their oil supplies by 100 won per liter in line with the government''s call for help to ease soaring gasoline and diesel prices. The price cut is to expire on July 7. "We will strictly deal with any irregularities by gas stations," Yim said. "The government will take stern measures, including business suspension or criminal charges, against any unwarranted production stoppage, supply reduction or restraints on shipments and sales (of oil)."