S. Korea’s import price index approaches 4-yr high in Sept.

October 15, 2018

SEOUL, Oct. 16 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s import prices rebounded to a near four-year high in September due to a steady rise in crude oil, central bank data showed Tuesday.

In Korean won terms, the import price index gained 1.5 percent to 90.69 last month from August, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK). Compared to a year earlier, it jumped 9.7 percent.

It inched down 0.2 percent in August, snapping a streak of seventh consecutive months of on-month gains that started in January.

The September index marked the highest monthly figure since November 2014, when the index touched 91.23.

The BOK said high-flying oil prices pushed up import prices last month, citing that the average price of Dubai crude, South Korea’s benchmark, rose 6.5 percent on-month to US$77.23 in September.

“Crude oil accounts for a majority of South Korea’s overall imports. The import price index will be affected by a price hike in oil further,” the central bank said.

Meanwhile, export price index in terms of local currency rose 0.3 percent to a four-year high of 88.02 in September on rising prices of petrochemical goods.