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Import prices down for 2nd month in Dec. on lower oil, raw material costs

Aerial view of shipping containers at South Korea's southern port city of Busan (Yonhap)
Aerial view of shipping containers at South Korea's southern port city of Busan (Yonhap)
South Korea's import prices fell for the second straight month in December from a month earlier as the costs of importing oil and other raw materials declined, central bank data showed Thursday.

The import price index dropped 1.9 percent last month from November, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea.

This marked the second on-month decline following a 1 percent contraction in November.

The December decline is attributed to lower costs of purchasing energy-related products and other raw materials.

Import prices of oil and coal products fell 5.6 percent in December from a month earlier, the data showed. Prices of importing mining, farming and other raw materials also dropped 4.3 percent over the cited period.

The central bank said the average monthly import prices of Dubai crude oil, South Korea's benchmark, stood at $73.21 per barrel last month, down 8.8 percent from a month earlier.

The oil import prices were still 46.9 percent higher than a year earlier.

Compared with a year earlier, however, the country's import prices jumped 29.7 percent in December, the 10th consecutive increase. The prices also gained 17.6 percent on-year in 2021.

Meanwhile, the country's export prices shrank 1 percent on-month in December due to declines in prices of coal, oil and chemical products. This marked the second straight on-month decline.

The December export prices, however, surged 23.5 percent compared with a year earlier, the 11th straight month of increase.

For 2021, the export prices also gained 14.3 percent from a year earlier. (Yonhap)