Import prices drop as won gains strength

December 10, 2013


(Yonhap) The nation’s import prices dropped for the 15th straight month in November as oil prices fell and the local currency gained against the U.S. dollar, the central bank said Wednesday.

In local currency terms, the country’s import prices declined 4.9 percent in November from a year earlier, smaller than the 7.3 percent on-year fall in October, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

It marked the 15th consecutive month of on-year declines in import prices since September last year when such prices dipped 2.2 percent on-year.

Prices of Dubai crude, South Korea’s benchmark, fell 1.7 percent in November from a year earlier, compared with a 3.1 percent on-year decline in October. The Korean won appreciated 2.32 percent to the greenback in November compared with the previous year.

Compared with a month earlier, the import prices fell 0.5 percent in November, compared with a 2.4 percent on-month decline in the previous month.

In the Korean won terms, South Korea’s export prices fell 2.5 percent on-year last month after dropping 4.5 percent in October.

The export prices shed 0.8 percent in November from the previous month, compared with a 1.9 percent on-month fall in October, the BOK said.

The data came as the BOK is slated to hold its monthly rate-setting session on Thursday. The central bank is widely expected to freeze the key interest rate at 2.5 percent for the seventh straight month, according to analysts.