Gasoline prices fall for a fourth straight week in Korea
Gas prices fell for a fourth consecutive week in Korea as crude oil prices decline and the government cuts the gas tax.
As of Sunday, gasoline nationwide sold for an average of 1,898 won ($1.46) per liter and diesel for 1,983 won, according to Opinet, the Korea National Oil Corporation's oil price management system.
Gasoline prices had fallen by 11.5 percent compared to June 30, when they peaked at 2,145 won before the government raised the fuel tax cut from 30 percent to 37 percent in July.
The cheapest region was Daegu, where gasoline was sold at 1,839 won per liter on average. At one station in that area, it went for 1,666 per liter. Seoul was the priciest, with the average at 1,953 won per liter.
Diesel prices fell by 8.5 percent compared to the end of June. The cheapest region was also Daegu, at 1,939 won, but the highest average was in Jeju, at 2,038 won.
Diesel fell below the 2,000-won mark for the first time in two months on July 28, when the per-liter average price was 1,998 won.
Crude oil prices have recently been falling due to weak economies globally, which leads to lower demand and weakens investor sentiment on related products.
Some crude oil, including Brent and Dubai, have been inching up this week upon Russia’s announcement of a decrease in gas supplies to Europe and the falling crude oil inventory in the United States.
It takes around two to three weeks for international prices to be reflected in domestic gas prices, which means prices are expected to maintain a downward trend in the coming weeks in Korea, according to Jung Jun-hwan, head of the Energy Industry Research Group at the Korea Energy Economics Institute.
“International oil prices are not changing much yet, and local gas prices are not displaying major signs of increase either,” said Jung. “Domestic gasoline and diesel prices are likely to keep falling or maintain the status quo during August.”
Dubai crude traded at $103.2 per barrel in the last week of July, $0.1 lower than the previous week. The average gasoline price was $4.23 per gallon in the United States as of July 30 and diesel $5.30.
BY YOON SO-YEON [firstname.lastname@example.org]