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Import prices up by most in 17 months in August on higher oil prices

By Yonhap

Published : Sept. 13, 2023 - 10:03

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Shipping containers are placed at Busan Port, Aug. 1. (Yonhap) Shipping containers are placed at Busan Port, Aug. 1. (Yonhap)

South Korea's import prices spiked by the most in 17 months last month due to the higher price of crude oil, central bank data showed Wednesday.

The import price index rose 4.4 percent in August from a month earlier, following a 0.2 percent fall the previous month, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea.

The rise marks the sharpest since March last year, when the comparable figure was 7.6 percent.

From a year earlier, the prices fell 9 percent.

Import prices are a major factor that determines the path of the country's overall rate of inflation.

The Dubai crude price, South Korea's benchmark, stood at $86.46 per barrel in August, up from $80.45 the previous month, according to the central bank.

The import prices of raw materials rose 7.2 percent, while those for intermediate goods gained 3.7 percent.

The export price index also rose 4.2 percent in August from the previous month following a 0.1 percent rise the previous month.

Meanwhile, South Korea's consumer prices increased at a faster-than-expected pace in August due to the higher prices of agricultural and manufactured goods.

Consumer prices, a key gauge of inflation, rose 3.4 percent last month from a year earlier, accelerating from the 2.3 percent increase in July, marking the highest on-year rise since the 3.7 percent growth tallied in April.

Last month, the BOK kept its key interest rate unchanged at 3.5 percent for the fifth straight time. The central bank delivered seven consecutive rate hikes from April 2022 to January 2023. (Yonhap)