SEOUL, July 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's energy demand is expected to drop for a second year in 2020 due to the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, a report said Wednesday.
The country's annual energy consumption is likely to contract 1.4 percent on-year this year, according to the report from the Korea Energy Economics Institute.
Last year, overall energy consumption in Asia's fourth-largest economy fell 1.3 percent on-year to 303.5 million tons of oil equivalent (TOE), the first decline since the country's foreign exchange crisis some two decades earlier.
The institute said the projected drop comes as the coronavirus outbreak has dampened industrial activity, with social distancing measures sapping demand for transportation.
South Korea's energy consumption had earlier been projected to bounce back this year, bolstered by a rise in the country's economic growth and other positive factors.
According to the report, the country's demand for coal and oil is predicted to shrink 7.7 percent and 1 percent, respectively, in 2020 from a year earlier, respectively.
Government efforts to reduce electricity generation from coal-fired power plants are expected to sap demand for anthracite and bituminous coal.
In contrast, consumption of nuclear energy and natural gas is forecast to increase 12.2 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
Noting there is high volatility due to COVID-19, the think tank said its future outlook for South Korea's energy consumption will depend on the extent and duration of the coronavirus outbreak.
It also expected international oil prices to tumble 41.4 percent in 2020 from the previous year, recording the largest-ever on-year decline.
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