Import prices climb as oil gets more expensive

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Import prices climb as oil gets more expensive

Korea’s import prices rose for a fifth straight month in January as oil prices increased, central bank data showed Tuesday. In local currency terms, the import price index gained 2.1 percent to record 84.91 last month from a month earlier, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea.

It posted growth for five straight months since September to mark the highest number in more than two years.

From a year earlier, the January figure rose 13.2 percent, the steepest year-on-year gain in five years and three months.

The Bank of Korea attributed the sharp gain to rising oil prices and a weakening local currency.

Korea’s benchmark Dubai crude was traded at an average $53.71 last month, up 3.1 percent, while the Korean won fell 0.2 percent month on month to 1,185 won against the U.S. dollar in January.

Export prices in terms of local currency increased 1.1 percent month on month. From a year earlier, the export price index jumped 7.4 percent.

Korea’s exports jumped 11.2 percent year on year last month on brisk overseas sales of semiconductors and petrochemicals. For the first time in 33 months, its outbound shipments expanded for three months in a row. YONHAP

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