The average year-on-year inflation in Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries hit 7.2 per cent in January, the highest since February 1991, amid rising energy prices.
Consumer prices in South Korea rose 3.6 per cent in January from a year ago, marking the 29th highest among the 38 OECD member countries.
The average year-on-year inflation of G20 and G7 nations stood at 6.5 per cent and 5.8 per cent, respectively, in the first month of this year.
Turkey suffered the worst inflation – 48.7 per cent in January.
On top of chronic inflation, Turkey raised its minimum wage by 50 per cent, and increased gas, electricity rates, road tolls and bus fares in January.
Consumer prices in the US climbed 7.5 per cent year-on-year in the month, propelled by surging prices of cars, energy and food, in what was the sharpest growth in 40 years since February 1982.
Such steep inflation is nudging the US Federal Reserve to speed up interest rate hikes.
The UK and Germany each posted an inflation rate of 4.9 per cent.
The biggest factor behind the sharp rise in consumer prices was the soaring international prices of oil and natural gas.
Energy prices jumped 26.2 per cent year-on-year in January on average in the 38 OECD countries.
While the South Korean government says the country is relatively less vulnerable to the global supply chain crisis, many point out that the OECD figure is not accurate as it does not reflect housing costs among others.
The Ukraine crisis is expected to aggravate the global inflation from March. Since the conflict began late last month, international prices of oil, natural gas and grains have soared and will directly affect consumer prices.
THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK