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Import prices sink to 8-month low in Dec. on plunging oil prices

All Headlines 06:00 January 15, 2019

SEOUL, Jan. 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's import prices fell for two months in a row to hit an eight-month low in December due to a freefall in crude oil prices, central bank data showed Tuesday.

As calculated in Korean won, the import price index came to 85.01 last month, down 3.4 percent from a month earlier, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The reading marked the lowest since April last year when it hit 84.80.

The central bank said the recent downside trend of crude oil prices dragged down South Korea's overall import price index as Asia's fourth-largest economy depends on imports to meet nearly all of its oil demand.

The average price of Dubai crude, South Korea's benchmark, decreased 12.6 percent on-month to US$57.32 in December. It fell 17.4 percent on-month in November.

From a year earlier, the Dubai crude also fell 7 percent in December, marking the first on-year decline since September 2016.

For the whole of 2018, the import price index rose 6.3 percent to 87.13, while export price index stayed nearly steady at 85.73.

An average price of Dubai crude was $68.66 last year, up 31 percent from an average of $53.18 in the previous year, according to the central bank.

"If oil prices remain low-key this year, the index of import prices will likely go down further," said the BOK.

Import prices sink to 8-month low in Dec. on plunging oil prices - 1

brk@yna.co.kr
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