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Gasoline price nears yearly record

South Korea’s gasoline prices have been rising for 44 days amid rising oil prices and consumption, the state-run Korea National Oil Corp. said Wednesday.

The nation’s average price of regular gasoline hit 1,572.40 won ($1.40) per liter on Tuesday, up 0.85 won from the previous day, according to Opinet, an online service provider of fuel prices run by KNOC.

Market experts estimate that the price may reach a new record, replacing the Jan. 1 record, 1587.31 won.

The average price of premium gasoline also rose by 0.17 won, diesel 0.45 won and crude oil 0.90 won.

KNOC attributed the gasoline price hike to the rising consumption of refined oil products, led by low crude prices.

According to KNOC’s January-April data, domestic consumption of refined petroleum products reached 283.7 million barrels, up 4.7 percent from a year ago. Among them, the sales of gasoline rose 7.7 percent on-year to 24.9 million barrels. Diesel shipments surged 10.2 percent to 50.6 million barrels.

Sales of kerosene and Bunker-C oil rose 21.2 percent and 7.7 percent respectively, to 7.3 million barrels and 13.6 million barrels. The sales of jet fuel, likewise, jumped 11.5 percent to 11.5 million barrels.

Consumption of liquefied petroleum gas, on the other hand, fell 2.8 percent on-year to 27.3 million barrels, being the only oil product to experience a sales drop.

Domestic sales make up roughly a third of all oil products made by refiners.
Thanks to the rising oil demand, the country’s major refineries, SK Innovation Co., GS Caltex Corp. and S-Oil Corp., swung into the black in the first quarter.

By Chung Joo-won (joowonc@heraldcorp.com)
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