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Economy

South Korea’s Import Prices Climbed In January As Oil Prices Rise

By February 14, 2017 at 6:53 am
Rising oil prices pushed South Korea’s import prices up in January, according to data from the Bank of Korea. (Photo : Korea Portal)

Rising oil prices pushed South Korea's import prices up in January, rising for the fifth consecutive month, according to data released by the Bank of Korea Tuesday.

The import price index jumped to 84.91 in January from the previous month or an increase of 2.1 percent, according to preliminary data from the central bank in Korean won terms.

In December, South Korea's import prices grew at their fastest pace in over five years due to the won's declines against the US dollar and rising oil prices.

Last month's increase in import prices marked five straight months of growth since September and the highest level in over two years.

Compared to the January 2016 figure, import prices climbed 13.2 percent, the sharpest on-year increase in 63 months as oil prices climbed and the local currency weakened, the BOK said.

Import prices jumped 9.2 percent in December in local currency terms, the fastest annual growth since a 10.7 percent gain in November 2011. The BOK cited the depreciating currency and rising import prices of industrial goods for the sharp rise in December.

The won fell 8.81 percent against the dollar in the last three months of 2016.

Despite the increase in December, import prices for the full-year declined 4.2 percent. The only other month where prices rose was in November, when they climbed 3.6 percent.

Dubai crude, which is used by South Korea as benchmark, was traded at an average $53.71 in January, an increase of 3.1 percent from the prior month, while the local currency declined 0.2 percent from the previous month to 1,185 won against the dollar last month.

Meanwhile, export prices advanced 1.1 percent in December from the previous month in terms of local currency. The export price index rose 7.4 percent in December from the year earlier.

South Korea's exports rose 11.2 percent in December from a year ago due to solid overseas sales of petrochemicals and semiconductors.

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