South Korea will explore ways to reduce the cost burden on companies as part of efforts to induce price stability for products frequently consumed by ordinary citizens, a senior finance ministry official said Tuesday.
Vice Finance Minister Shin Je-yoon also asked for companies to intensify their own cost-cutting efforts in a way to share "suffering" with consumers who remain vulnerable to stubbornly high inflation.
"The corporate sector needs to think about how it could share suffering and seek coexistence through its own efforts to lower production costs," Shin told other policymakers in a meeting.
"The government, for its part, will explore ways to ease the cost burden on businesses that could include tariff (reduction) and improvement in distribution structure," he added.
South Korea has been faced with stubbornly high inflation, partly due to rising prices of oil and raw materials that should be imported to manufacture products here.
The nation's consumer prices rose 4.3 percent last month from a year earlier, easing from the 5.3 percent on-year gain in August. That still had exceeded the government's annual inflation target of 4 percent for nine straight months.
Things remain uncertain as there are some other factors that could exert additional upward inflationary pressure such as possible hikes in public service charges and high home rental prices.
Shin called on regional governments to step up efforts to minimize hikes in charges for such services as the subway, buses and tap water through close cooperation with each public service provider.
He also noted that the government will keep monitoring the nation's home rental markets ahead of the full-swing moving season to ease the suffering of low- and mid-income people mostly exposed to surges in home prices.