Import prices snap 4-month rise in May on fall in oil prices

South Korea’s import prices ended their four-month gain in May due to a fall in oil prices and the Korean won’s rise against the U.S. dollar, central bank data showed Friday.

The import price index declined 1.4 percent last month from a month earlier following a 3.8 percent on-month gain the previous month, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

From a year earlier, prices also rose 4.6 percent last month following a 2.9 percent on-year advance the previous month, the data showed.

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 US$84.04 per barrel in May, down from $89.17 the previous month, according to the central bank.

The Korean won averaged 1,365.39 against the greenback last month, slightly up from 1,367.83 the previous month.

Import prices of raw materials fell 3.7 percent on-month last month, while those for intermediate goods slipped 0.3 percent over the cited

The export price index also fell 0.4 percent in May after a 4.4 percent on-month gain the previous month, according to the data.

The country’s consumer prices, a key gauge of inflation, rose 2.7 percent on-year last month, compared with the 2.9 percent on-year rise a month earlier.

It marked the second straight month that the price growth slowed down and the figure stayed below 3 percent.

Last month, the BOK kept its key interest rate unchanged at 3.5 percent for the 11th straight time. The central bank delivered seven consecutive rate hikes from April 2022 to January 2023.

Source: Yonhap News Agency