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S. Korea's coffee, tobacco imports decline in 2009

All Headlines 10:08 March 05, 2010

SEOUL, March 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's imports of coffee and tobacco fell slightly last year amid an economic downturn, a government report showed Friday.

According to the report by the Korea Customs Service, the country's coffee imports decreased 4.5 percent from a year ago to US$276.28 million, the first drop in five years.

In terms of volume, the imports fell 1.5 percent over the same period to 100,576 tons.

Out of total coffee imports, Vietnam was the largest exporter of coffee beans to South Korea, with 33.2 percent.

Brazil exported 17,343 tons of coffee to the country last year, accounting for 17.1 percent of South Korea's total coffee imports, followed by Colombia with 13.7 percent and Honduras with 11.1 percent.

Industry insiders attributed the decline to a fall in global coffee prices and decreased demand amid an economic recession.

During the reported period, the country's tobacco imports also dropped 7.5 percent by volume, the first fall in four years.

In terms of value, however, tobacco imports rose 8.7 percent to $242.88 million, the smallest increase in the past three years. South Korea's tobacco imports by value jumped 44.4 percent on-year in 2008, 17.8 percent in 2007, and 28.5 percent in 2006.

China topped the list of tobacco exporters to South Korea last year, accounting for 23.5 percent of the country's total tobacco imports, trailed by India with 23.2 percent and Brazil with 18.9 percent.


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