South Korea is still facing a high level of inflation despite easing price hikes in recent months, the top economic policymaker said Monday, calling for more efforts to tackle structural problems to guarantee longer-term price stability. "The overall inflation level remains high and the real burden that ordinary people are feeling in their life has yet to be reduced significantly," Yonhap news agency quoted Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan as saying. South Korea''s consumer prices rose 3.9 percent last month from a year earlier, marking the first time this year that the price hike has fallen below the government''s annual inflation target of 4 percent for 2011, according to Yonhap. The slowing pace of price growth was attributed partly to falling farm product costs, which used to be one of major factors that exerted significant upward pressure on inflation over the past year, it said. As for the "thrift gas stations" that the government is pushing, Bahk hoped that they could serve as a chance to improve the distribution process and bolster competition in the market so as to result in price declines at the pump. Last week, the South Korean government announced that it will set up 1,300 such gas stations selling cheaper gasoline and diesel by 2015 as part of an ongoing effort to control inflationary pressure. They plan to reduce prices by receiving lower-priced fuel than ordinary gas stations from state-run suppliers.