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Import prices fall for 1st time in 3 months in July on declining oil prices

This photo, taken last Sunday, shows information on gasoline and diesel prices put up at a gas station in Seoul. (Yonhap)
This photo, taken last Sunday, shows information on gasoline and diesel prices put up at a gas station in Seoul. (Yonhap)

South Korea's import prices fell for the first time in three months in July as global oil prices declined amid concerns about a global recession, central bank data showed Friday.

The import price index inched down 0.9 percent in July from a month earlier, compared with a 0.5 percent on-month rise in June, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

This marked the first on-month decline since April, when import prices edged down 0.6 percent.

Compared with a year earlier, the index jumped 27.9 percent, slowing from a 33.6 percent on-year advance. It marked the 17th straight month of on-year increase.

The BOK said import prices fell on-month as falling oil prices drove down prices of petroleum and mine products. South Korea depends heavily on imports for most of its energy needs.

Prices of Dubai crude, South Korea's benchmark, stood at $103.14 per barrel on average last month, down 8.9 percent from the previous month. The oil prices were still up 41.4 percent from a year earlier.

Raw material prices also fell 2.6 percent on-month in July.

South Korea is grappling with rising inflation, as high energy and food prices have exerted upward pressure on prices.

Consumer prices, a key gauge of inflation, soared 6.3 percent in July from a year ago, the fastest rise in almost 24 years and an acceleration from a 6 percent on-year spike in June.

Last month, the BOK delivered its first-ever "big-step" rate hike of 50 basis points to rein in inflation. It was the sixth rate increase since August last year. (Yonhap)

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