South Korea is about to join the ranks of advanced countries in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) based on purchasing power parity (PPP), a local think tank said Sunday in a report on Koreans' actual living standards.
The Hyundai Research Institute said that South Korea's per capita GDP reached US$22,778, the 34th largest in the world, in 2011, but its GDP by PPP per capita is estimated at $31,714, the world's 25th highest.
The wide gap between nominal and PPP-based GDP data apparently stems from below-average food, shelter and clothing costs in South Korea, said the institute in a report compiled on the basis of the 2008 prices of major necessities.
As of 2008, foodstuff prices in South Korea were about 3 percent higher than the average of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries. In terms of the prices of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, South Korea's prices were higher than the OECD average by 20 percent and 33 percent, respectively.
However, South Korea's clothing and footwear prices were about 10 percent lower than the OECD average, while South Koreans were paying about 47 percent less than the OECD average to buy houses, tap water, electricity and fuels.
Cigarette prices were about 51 percent cheaper in South Korea. In terms of medical, communications and culture-related expenses, too, South Koreans' burdens are about 48 percent, 41 percent and 24 percent lighter, respectively, compared with the OECD average.
The Hyundai think tank noted that despite overall stability in foodstuff prices, meat and vegetables are more expensive in South Korea than in advanced countries, calling for efforts to stabilize prices for key daily necessities.
It also urged the government to readjust the domestic prices of electricity and tap water, noting their comparatively cheap rates tend to encourage excessive consumption and deteriorate fiscal burdens.