Import prices drop most in 4 years

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Import prices drop most in 4 years

Korea’s import prices fell by the sharpest pace in nearly four years last month, central bank data showed Thursday.

The fall was attributed to a drop in crude oil prices

In Korean won terms, the import price index lost 4.6 percent from a month earlier to a six-month low of 87.96 in November, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The 4.6 percent month-on-month dip was the largest fall since January 2015 when the index fell 7.5 percent.

The BOK said the recent declines in crude oil prices dragged down the overall import price index as Asia’s fourth-largest economy depends on imports to meet nearly all of its oil demands.

The average price of Dubai crude, Korea’s benchmark, plunged 17.4 percent month on month to $65.56 last month.

“Crude oil accounts for a majority of Korea’s overall imports,” the central bank said.

“As the crude prices have been on a decline since the end of September, the import price index is expected to keep decreasing,” the central bank added.

At the same time, the export price index in terms of local currency fell 2.3 percent to 86.10 in November, ending the seven-month winning streak, the BOK said.

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