Appetite for oil reaches 7-month high
Korea, the world’s fifth-largest oil importer, made its largest purchase of crude last month since October despite rising prices.
Crude imports jumped 12 percent to 81.1 million barrels in May, up from 72.3 million barrels a year earlier, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said. That was the largest amount since 83 million barrels in October.
Korea, which depends on nuclear power for one-third of its electricity, has suspended two reactors pending safety checks and shifted to coal and other fossil fuels.
The country’s bill for crude imports rose 18 percent to $10 billion as prices climbed 5.4 percent to $123.90 a barrel, the ministry said, citing preliminary figures for last month. This is the first time that crude imports exceeded $10 billion in a single month.
The ministry noted that crude imports by value are expected to fall in the following months as international oil prices have been easing recently.
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