S. Korea’s import prices fall in Dec

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SEOUL, Jan 13 – South Korea’s import prices again fell in December from a year ago as global oil prices continued to slide, central bank data showed Tuesday.

In local currency terms, import prices tumbled 13 percent on-year last month, quickening from a revised 8 percent fall in November, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea. It marks 28 straight months of an on-year fall in import prices.

From a month earlier, import prices fell 5.1 percent in the cited period, also picking up from a 0.9 percent dip in the previous month.

The fall was blamed on weakening oil prices. The price of Dubai crude oil, South Korea’s benchmark, plunged 21.9 percent on-month in December.

Export prices fell 4.3 percent on-year, accelerating from a 2.2 percent fall in November. On a monthly basis, they declined 2.4 percent, turning around from a 1.2 percent rise in the previous month.

The central bank explained export prices fell as a drop in the price of oil products outweighed a strengthening U.S. dollar.

The average won-dollar exchange rate reached 1,104.33 won against the greenback in December, rising 0.8 percent from 1,095.1 won the previous month.