Korea’s June import price index rises 0.5%, eclipses export price to signal widening deficit
South Korea’s import prices rose for the second straight month in June amid rising oil prices, outpacing the value of exports to signal a deteriorating trade balance and outlook for an economy dependent on trade.
According to the Bank of Korea on Friday, the import price index stood at 154.84 in June when converted to Korean won, up 0.5% from the previous month and 33 .6% compared to the same month a year ago. The index rose for the second month in a row after a brief dip in April, although growth slowed to 3.8% in May.
The import price of mining products among commodities jumped 3.8% from the previous month, with the average price of crude in Dubai rising 4.7% to $113.27 a barrel in June.
The import price of coal and petroleum products among intermediate goods fell by 6.4% and that of primary metal products by 1.4%.
Prices of mining products such as crude rose while those of coal and petroleum products fell on worries about a slowing economy and demand, the BOK said.
The export price index rose 1.1% on the month and 23.7% on the year to 132.81 in June, but the reading remained significantly lower than the import index.
Prices for coal and petroleum products jumped 7.2% month on month and chemicals 0.9% amid rising oil prices, while those for primary metal products fell 1.5%. % in a context of falling commodity prices.
Diesel prices increased by 16.2%, benzene by 9.4% and caustic soda by 9.2%, while those of zinc smelters fell by 17.6%, screens at liquid crystals for televisions by 7.8% and flash memory by 5.1%, according to the data.
By Lee Eun-joo
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