Korea’s imports of bottled water jumped to a record high last year as demand grew for premium brands from European countries, the nation’s customs office said Thursday.
Korea imported a record $7.9 million worth of bottled water last year, up 19 percent from a year earlier. The import figures have grown an annual average of 23 percent over the past five years, according to the report by the Korean Customs Service.
The increase was driven by a spike in imports from European countries. Water imports from France accounted for 79 percent of the total last year, while those from Italy doubled with their ratio rising to 22.9 percent, the report showed.
Bottled water from Fiji came in third with a total of $290,000 worth of products shipped here. In 2009, there were no imports from the country.
Apparently due to growing demand for premium brands, the average prices of imported bottle water increased last year, driving up water costs higher than crude oil here, according to the report.
The average price of imported bottled water was $0.93 per liter, or 907 won, last year, higher than crude oil imports whose per-liter prices stood at 578 won, the report showed.
Water from Norway was the most expensive with a per-liter price of $2.26, followed by Italy and the United States with $1.48 and $1.32, respectively.
Meanwhile, Korea’s exports of bottled water also hit a record high of $6.02 million last year, the report showed.