In July, South Korea’s import prices rose largely because of the higher costs of crude oil, according to information from the Bank of Korea (BOK).
The import price index increased by 0.4 percent from the prior month after experiencing a 3.9 percent reduction in June.
The increase was due to the higher price of oil.
Import prices are a major factor that influences the rate of inflation in the country.
The Dubai crude price, South Korea’s benchmark, was $80.45 per barrel in July, an increase from $74.99 in the preceding month, according to the central bank.
Additionally, the export price index went up by 0.1 percent in July after a 3.2 percent drop in the preceding month, as the Korean won strengthened against the U.S. dollar.
The won averaged 1.286.30 against the greenback last month, in contrast to 1,296.71 the previous month.
At the same time, South Korea’s year-on-year consumer price growth slowed for the sixth consecutive month in July, staying below 2 percent.
Consumer prices, a key measure of inflation, rose 2.3 percent last month from a year earlier, compared with a 2.7 percent increase in June. In June, inflation fell below 3 percent for the first time since September 2021.
Last month, the BOK kept its key interest rate unchanged at 3.5 percent for the fourth straight time. The central bank delivered seven consecutive rate hikes from April 2022 to January 2023.
Containers for exports and imports are stacked at a pier in South Korea's largest port city of Busan, 320 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on July 25, 2023. (Yonhap)